Sunday, April 30, 2006

Made in Heaven

Hired! I've been lucky enough to secure a gig "ushering" at the Covent Garden Comedy Club, which involves setting up chairs, seating people and telling them where the loos are. One of the greatest things about this job though is that this club happens at Heaven, which is the huge gay club where Freddie Mercury used to hang out in the 80s. How cool is that? The first night I was there I was all starry-eyed imagining "if these walls could talk!" but then I realised that I probably didn't want to know what they would say. Heaven is not what I expected, it's under Charing Cross station, a warren of rooms with sticky floors, techno lights, fog machines, and bars, all staffed by cloned Eastern European men who are uniformly gorgeous. The first night I worked, we had to lock up the microphones, and just walking through the early club crowd was the most intense experience of my life. Thank God I had lipstick on. But I think this is going to be fun--my friend Mel is the one who introduced me to her boss. She did the projections for Hedwig. In addition to me, there's two other people from our show there, so it's a toss up whether we're going to usher or break out in song and dance. The money is good and it's two nights a week, so there's my grocery bills taken care of. Last night after the show Mel and I went out for a drink...and long story short I ended up calling Sam and entertaining her for two hours while she rendered. I also extracting lengthy promises for her to email me, promises that she has not yet followed through on, even though I've checked my email seven times today. (seven sounds like a lot, but then again I usually check it 10-20 times a day, but today I got up at 2)

Speaking of the demon internet: here is an interesting site that I've been playing around on whilst waiting for the muse to show up. It's a flash cartoon sponsored by the BBC, so if you have a lot of free time and high bandwidth, check it out. This tells the story of a brother and sister in the 1800s who must save the spirit of England from demons, werewolves and other hell-beasts. They are aided in their quest by the ghosts of Lord Byron, Queen Boudiccea, and Lord Nelson. Lord Nelson is played by Anthony Daniels, better known as C3PO, but that's not the reason I'm writhing in agony. The historical inaccuracies in this show are not to be believed! If I, an American who has never glanced through a biography of Nelson, can tell you that he was only a CAPTAIN on the Agamemnon, NOT an admiral--and that he would never consent to being called "Horatio"--then what does that say about your research staff? Clearly they are not being paid enough. But, then again, anything that involves werewolves, hellbeasts, fey poets and 19th century admirals is worth supporting, if merely for the what the heck? factor. Plus, part two involves zombies...

"I've only got one arm, so it make sense for me to hold my hat for all eternity..." eeargh.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


I just read an article on Yahoo about a scheme in Britain wherein pubs and clubs will have biometric fingerprint reading machines that can scan and store information about customers. This is to ostensibly remove the need to carry identification (which can be a problem when you're going to a club and not wearing much--see a recent episode of CSI: Miami) but it is also a way that clubs can identify louts and other troublemakers and--this is the kicker--share that information with other clubs. So if you got kicked out of a pub for say, defending your football team's honor with a broken beer bottle, and wanted to go down the road to another place, by the time you got there, there would already be a friendly man in a large overcoat ready to explain to you the various reasons why you're not going to be admitted. (exhibit A: A broken beer bottle) At first glance this seems like a good idea: I mean, some of the places can get pretty rowdy. Englishpeople seem to use the excuse that they're buttoned up all the time to go absolutely crazy on Friday and Saturday nights (for more information, see the excellent op-ed on my friend Andrew E.'s page), but then I got to thinking. Wait a minute, who says what kind of behaviour is going to get you in trouble? Is it merely the shouting, the kicking, the punching the fighting crowd that's going to get kicked out? What about the annoying, shrieking sixteen year olds who are drunk on alkapops and who are not fighting, but who are taking far FAR too many pictures of each other on their camera phones and seriously infringing on my peace of Saturday night mind? (Friends don't let friends drink alkapops...unless we need the bottles for a show) Then of course there's the whole thing, is this something you want? I mean, once you're in the system, all you have to do is scan your finger again to get in a club, but what's wrong with flashing a little driver's license? ("Wis-con-sin? Where the hell is that?") Or is this just another way to keep track of us and limit our movements? If you do get kicked out a club, then are you banished? For how long? How much would it take for that information to be provided to the police? And what if the only reason you got in the fight in the first place was some jerk insisted on supporting Man. United when CLEARLY he was in the wrong pub, so you trot on down to a more civilised place only to discover you're not welcome anymore? Clearly this scheme is a troublesome one, one that is only in place in six pubs in Britain--and is "optional" apparently, but for how long who knows. Until then I guess we'll just have to put up with carrying around identification and, if necessary, take to partying in the streets.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The best song in the world!

You are Jack Twist. Energetic, creative, and clever, you use your ideas and enthusiasm in life yet remain a slave to your passions.

Submit comments of appropriateness below!

I'm listening to Tenacious D right now because the song I really want to listen to is not with me. I want Queen "It's Late" which I have, I have two albums that contain this song. The album I chose to burn into my computer, "Queen Rocks" (yes, yes they do) was scratched on this song, and News of the World awaits me on the other side of t' pond. Frustration! I would NEVER suggest that any of my loyal readers stoop to piracy, but if someone could send me this song I would be so grateful.

Today I went on a prowl...John suggested I try exploring multicultural parts of the city, so I hopped on the Tube and headed for Whitechapel. I decided to combine business and pleasure and stopped off at the Royal London Hospital Museum first, which is a tiny but tidy room in the basement of a local church. This is where Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, lived for the last years of his life, so they had a little information about him, including the model of the church that he built. Which was actually a pre-printed model, I learned. There was also a little picture frame containing a part of George Washington's dentures, which sent me into spasms of historical joy. These were the false choppers that Washington wore when he was discussing the founding of our great nation, people! I think I might have to start a book about random American items in London and where to find them.

Walking down the street towards Brick Lane was interesting. I passed dozens of women in full purdah, completely covered except for their eyes, but most of them were pushing your basic British baby stroller: huge, swathed in a rain shield, and containing a small explosion of pink or blue. (I've noticed people here are very excited to declare their baby's sex. I can't wait to have kids and dress them in green just to mess with the system) The reason I was heading for Brick Lane can be summed up in one word: CURRY. Brick Lane has a large Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi population, and they also have the highest concentration of curry in London. I was sucked into a small restaurant and consumed an absolutely obscene amount of curry (just the right amount of spice and coriander, with hot fresh nan bread, drool) before prowling on. Then I headed to Bethnal Green, to watch the people, the shops and the houses. Unfortunately, the children's museum is closed until August, so I didn't get to see Victorian toys. Probably a good thing, since anymore unexpected historical artefacts were likely to give me a coronary.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In the audience

It's been so long since I've actually seen a show... Tonight some of my classmates and myself went to see "4.48 Psychosis" by Sarah Kane (note: theatre people--read this author, she's pretty major here in the UK) and it was so great! To see everyone, I mean. (Even if Brian did accuse me of being covered in dream-dust when I said I wanted to build a model of the HMS Victory and sail around the world.) The show was okay. 4.48 is sort of a cross between a suicide note and a prose poem, with no characters indicated, so the first trick is, how do you stage it? Tonight the director had chosen to have eight women sharing the text, sometimes speaking together, sometimes presenting monologues. But it felt very much like a one-trick pony, like I was being talked to constantly. (I will say, the eye contact alone was worth five stars) If I was going to stage the show, I would have less people and more movement. But that's just me. It was great to see all my classmates again, especially since I've been spending most of my time in my room working and I'm desperate to talk to other people! I have a full time job now: looking for a full time job. Sarah Kane could live on her writing, but that's because she rocks. The rest of us have to play office monkey for a few more years yet.

I went and saw my tutor today, and I have to echo Sam that I was disappointed with the feeback he gave me. Much good stuff, but he kept dancing delicately around the hard questions. "I don't want to say you must do this or you must do that, or why have you done this..." so I was left wishing he would just say, "you know what your problem is?" Because, really, let me know if my intention isn't getting across. I won't fight back. But I will revise...and I hate to revise...eargh. I suspect he was fearing for my delicate mental state, thinking that to say "you suck, out of my office" might send me into an ever-deepening spiral of despair, but really, right now, I could just use a good swift kick in the pen. (John, if you're reading this, hardcore feedback does not send me into an ever deepening spiral of despair. Smells do.) I have been inspired to change things and move things around and *shudder* revise, so I shouldn't complain too much. Maybe it was seeing a show for the first time in six weeks. Who knows?

Oh, and the cereal companies here hate me. They are TAUNTING me by putting packets of seeds into their boxes, so now I have some Antirrhinum seeds here, TAUNTING me, saying "ahahaha! you have no garden! we mock you!" I might have to clandestinely sprinkle them over the tulip beds later tonight...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Greece in Pictures

Rock star sunglasses-the perfect souvenir!

The ancient agora--the meeting and marketplace of the men of Athens--with the temple of Hephastos, the smithy god.

Plaka--a small pedestrian area with lots of shopping, small cafes, and dogs the size of ponies.

Me, Lisa and Lisa, standing under some Easter flowers.

The Athens Metro--clean functional, and, like the rest of the city, full of historical artefacts.

The Acropolis is the highest place in the city, rising up out of the modern buildings. On top is the Parthenon, two theatres, and several other smaller temples.

Hey, Nicki, where's the theatre of Dionysos?! Good girl!

The Theatre of Dionysos.

The Parthenon, smugly secure as it poses for another picture.

Lisa and I pause for another photo before the final ascent.

The city of Athens is an undulating sea of white buildings, shimmering in the sun.

In front of the Parthenon, two rock stars!

Me, celebrating climbing to the top of a slippery outcropping of marble to take a picture.

Lisa and (drool) Greek salad.

Lisa's university. She assured us that she didn't actually have classes in this building, which is probably a good thing. If I went to school there I'd be wandering around all the time going "damn! this is a beautiful building! oh, nuts, I'm late for class...oh well, look at this gorgeous building!"

Evzone, the ceremonial guards outside the Parliament building. My guidebook tells me that the 400 pleats in their skirts symbolise 400 years of Turkish oppression. Ernest Hemingway called them "fighting men in ballet dresses." I call them "hot."

Sunset by Athen's beach. About an hour ride away from our hotel--refreshing after spending 5 days in a city!

A seaside stroll at sunset.

The National Gardens...laid out in the 1840s by Queen Amelia, now a shady place to relax in the middle of the city.

Lisa, Lisa and me on the ferry to Aegina.

Try and not think about "The Little Mermaid" when you see this picture...go on, I defy you.

The beach at Agia Marina.

Graffiti in Plaka...pretty!

From the top of the's a long way down!

Lisa invited Lisa and me over for dinner one Sunday...I got out of helping to clean up by taking pictures.

Lisa gives Lisa a lesson in an ancient Greek scratching technique as we wait for the ferry.

Aegina, a small island in the Aegean Sea.

Caution, hotties on the beach!

Lisa was quick to point out that if my vacation was a movie, this would be the poster.

Right before I took this picture I was waxing philosophical about how nine years ago I traveled to Germany and got blisters because I didn't have the right shoes...and now I was in Greece getting jellyfish bites. how cool am I?

Agia Marina, a small town where I took a couple days off.

Paradise Aegina.

The temple of Aphaia on Aegina

Self-portrait: tanned!

Agia, again

Okay, that took me about two hours, and that's not even a tenth of the pictures I have...but I hope you enjoyed it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

didja miss me?

Hello, everyone, I'm back from Greece and recovering nicely from a sunburn the likes of which I have never seen. It's always hard to describe places you've been without sounding inane and gushy, but I shall do my best.

Lisa, Lisa and I arrived in Athens and took a bus into the city, so my first impression was "wow, there are a lot of apartments here." The city is mostly made up of these four and five level apartments, all with balconies, some very close together. Everything is covered in a fine layer of white dust (as opposed to London, which has black dust) Greeks LOVE their cars and they drive like insane people. And everywhere you look is marble. Marble buildings, marble tiles in the bathroom, marble stairs, marble curbstones, marble street markers, oh, and marble statues of course. Naturally. Greece is very proud of their heritage. Lisa explained to me that for four hundred years the Turks were an invading force, but the Greeks managed to hold onto their culture in secret, until Lord Byron came and saved the country in the 1830s. (that's a joke) Lisa and I spent most of our time shopping through Athens--well, Lisa shopped, I became incredibly depressed because everything was sized for mutant European women who much smaller than Americans. But we did go to the archaological museum, which houses a fine collection of things that were dug out of the Athenian soil...I went in expecting to see wooden bowls, arrowheads, maybe some rudimentary tools, but what I saw was gold jewlery, terracotta pots, bronze and iron weapons. Then the sign informed me that these items were 5,000 years old, and my brain refused to comprehend a number that large. The rest of the museum was given over to "classic" Greek art...this would be the time period most people think of, when Sophocles was busy writing and Aristotle was busy thinking. Lots of pretty Greek boys with nothing on standing around looking bored while tourists studied the fine art of marble carving up close. Sometimes...closer than others.

A few days after we arrived we went and saw the Acropolis, which is a fancy Greek word meaning "edge of town." The Acropolis is a hill that has the best view of the city, and it's also where the temple to Athena, the Parthenon, is located, as well as the theatre of Dionysos, and the theatre of Herodes Atticus. The theatre of Dionysos has not been restored, the stage and seats are slowly disappearing due to time and banditry, but seeing it was kind of an emotional experience. I mean, this is it, kids, this is where western theatre began. Lisa and I sat on the (marble) seats and I told her the story of Oedipus Rex. I would have like to have acted it out, eye-gouging and all, but you weren't allowed onstage. The Parthenon is the superstar of Greek cultural attractions, and, like all superstars, it was surrounded by German tourists. The actual building has been undergoing restoration for the past 25 years or something ridiculous like that, so half of it is covered in scaffolding. It was still pretty damn impressive. In the 1800s, Lord Elgin got "permission" from the Turkish sultan to remove the friezes and other sculptures from the front, and they're still in the British Museum--so I have to make another trip to see those. I told Lisa that I stood in solidarity with the Greeks who are demanding the return of these art treasures. It's not fair to have them so far from home, especially when there's a room waiting for them at the museum. Then she accused me of being another Lord Elgin since I took a tiny rock of marble home as a souveneir. Whatever. Greeks are so emotional.

The best part about the trip was the food. Lisa and I found a magic gyro shop down the street that had proper Greek gyros, none of the plastic you find at Wisconsin fairs. Here I got to practise my Greek every night: "theo gyro, parakalos," which means "two gyros, please!" I also learned "ena" which is one, and "tria" which is three, but I didn't learn "four" which would have been useful when trying to buy stamps. Oh well. The best food in Greece is the simple Greek salad which is fresh tomatoes, red onion, green pepper and cucumbers, drizzled with olive oil and oregano (no--more oregano, Greeks love oregano), then a few olives and then a chunk of feta the size of a small book. Mm. So good. I also had tzaziki, which is a heavenly white sauce with cucumbers and onions. I'm crying right now just thinking about it. So good.

Lisa took Lisa and I to visit a small island in the Aegean sea called Aegina on Tuesday. Here we spent the afternoon on the beach, taking in the sun (by this time Pasty McWhiteperson had learned the value of her sunscreen), reading and swimming. Well, I went swimming. And I got stung by a jellyfish. How cool is that?! Just a little one--a kind of rash around my wrist, but I kept looking at it going "wow! I'm in a place where you can get stung by jellyfish! Is this really me? I'm so cool!" The water was too cold for everyone else, so I had the place to myself. We were in a little town called Agia Marina which reminded me weirdly of Door County and Florida--only because the season hadn't started yet, it was almost empty. So, the next day, when Lisa had to go back to the UK and finish her essays, I decided to go back to Aegina by myself and have a few days of total relaxation.

I checked into the Hotel Rachel--I think I might have been the only guest--and spent two days doing nothing. There was nothing to do except relax. I took a bus up to the temple dedicated to the nymph Aphaia, and wrote a little (until the German tourists came) then walked back to the ocean and spent four hours by the water reading. (by the way--"Shadow of the Wind" is a BRILLIAN BOOK. READ IT. DO IT NOW. It was the only thing I had in English left and I was really worried I was going to not like it but be stuck with it, but it turned out to be amazing. GO READ IT.) Then I had a big Greek dinner: tzaziki and bread, souvlaki (like a shish-kebab), Mythos beer, then Greek coffee and apple pie. I wanted galactobourico, which is sort of a creme/milk pastry pie, but they were out. Greek coffee, by the way, is amazing. It comes in a cup like espresso and has kind of a chalky texture, something to do with the way you boil coffee and sugar together, but it is so good.

I felt really refreshed when I left...ready to go back to London...the trip back completely sapped my energy. I took a bus...caught a boat...took the metro...caught a bus...took a a coach...then a night bus...and finally a minicab...and arrived back here at about 3AM--5AM Greece time. Collapsed into bed and slept until quarter to three. And I could go right back to bed now. I had a great time though. It was very weird being in a place where I couldn't speak the language. The word I used the most was "efarchisto" which means "thank you" as in "thank you for putting up with a stupid tourist." It was also very eye opening to be in a country where the history that informs it is longer and different. I thought London sat on it's historical laurels--here there has been human habitation for 6,000 years.

I did a lot of thinking, especially when I was on Aegina, about the nature of travel and exploring different cultures--I came to the conclusion that if a person finds something "different" they should work harder to learn about it, instead of being afraid. (...note to self...) I also figured out what my own personal problem was, so that left me cheerful annd happy. A good time, then. Except now all I can think about is Greek coffee...and tzatziki. Damnit. And I never did get that galactobourico...One of the side effects of this trip is now the kebab place down the street has been completely ruined for me. For who could enjoy their dried out sad kebabs when one has tasted the beauty and joy that is the magic Greek gyro? damnit.

Pictures soon!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

1,000 words

I had to clean out my camera which led to me reorganising some of my photo files, which...anyway, here's a bunch of random images I've collected recently. (last one courtesy of Sarah Whittaker)

Monday, April 10, 2006

five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes..

I KNOW that all of my loyal readers have seen RENT, even if they won't admit to it. (Aunt Becky--you have been put on notice) And most of you have probably seen it before me, but STILL I must leave my two cents worth. I finally got to see it last night, in the pouring English spring, and lemme tell you, it was worth it. Despite his best efforts, Chris "Screwed Up Harry Potter!" Columbus managed to not mess up RENT. The weirdest thing, I think I speak for everyone, was the way they rearranged the songs and had people speaking some of the songs instead of singing, but when they did sing--oh my, look out. I was impressed the most with newcomer Rosario Dawson, who played Mimi, and Jesse L. Martin who needs to sing and dance more!! Man!!! There's a hundred little things, but I think the thing that made the best transition to the big screen was Mark's character, with his camera mounted on a bike. Oh-yeah, and "hey, we have a budget now, howsabout we stick Roger out in the middle of New Mexico so he can be angsty on top of some mountains?!" Random!!! The thing I missed the most was the voicemail messages--although Alexi Darling was exactly as I pictured her.

There's so much more I could say about RENT. As I journaled yesterday: "RENT really was sort of the transition from a pock-marked, four eyed, Andrew Lloyd-Webber OBSESSED Phantom freak with a mask on her backpack into the suave and well-read musical theatre geek I am today. [who can twist Hedwig lyrics to her own purpose.] Seeing the movie was more nostalgic than gritty and urban and NOW, but it's nice to see the show getting some recognition. When they flashed 'THANK YOU JONATHAN LARSEN' at the end of the credits, I applauded." Yes, thank you Mr. Larsen to waking me up to the potential of what a musical could be, and paving the way for me to become interested in shows such as "Floyd Collins" and "The Ballad of Elizabeth Sulkymouth."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

order design tension harmony

The reason for this burst of sudden poetry was a recent "exhibit" by an artist named Jenny Holtzer. She was commissioned by the city of London to project poetry on famous London landmarks, such as the National Gallery. Being in a wordy place right now, I thought I would go and see the art at Covent Garden last night...I was surprised how "low tech" it was...Ms. Holtzer had set up a projector on the ground and anyone could stroll right by and watch the art, or ignore it, or stand in front of the light...but if you took a few moments, you were exposed to poetry in an entirely new way. The poems were scrolled onto St. Paul's at an even rate--there was no cheating ahead and reading the end, you had to take the poem at the poem's own pace. In that way it was kind of like a movie, only more interactive because you had to read. I quite liked it. I didn't get to stay too long since I was due elsewhere, but I would have liked to have gotten a glass of wine and watched for awhile.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

we'll lead as two kings!!!!

You know that old joke "what's worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm" is a lot less funny when it ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO YOU. Oh well. I guess that's the price you pay when you buy organic apples.

mm. protein.

I have already had a merrily productive day, finishing up my assignment for my final project, 10 pages of a new project as well as hacking out some poems. Now I have said it before, but the only kind of poetry I know how to write is bad poetry which I am now going to inflict on you, my loyal and long-suffering readers. This is a poem I wrote while happily anticipating going swimming in Greece entitled "My Favourite Element." Hopefully your intestines won't attempt to strangle your brains in an act of self-preservation.

Cool cool water that laps around my skin, my flesh for once immersed in an immensity greater than its own. I am weightless. Not light not skinny, weightless, free floating in a dream of wetness that give me a graceful ecstasy of joy and contentment. I skim the skin of the water, buoyant, light, now I am a needle diving into the flesh, burying myself in the veins and currents of the sweet water. Waterbaby me! My only regret that I have to come up for air. The seaweed that is my hair fans out about me, now clinging to my smiling cheeks, now moving of it’s own volition through the water and I cannot call it back! –for am not I also moving of my own volition through this beautiful beautiful wetness that I love so much? This leg, so clunky and stumbleful on land, now becomes as graceful as a swan’s wing, propelling me surely through the waves. This hand, already bent up with typing and scratched with work has transformed into a fin, pulling, slicing, moving with and through the water. Resistance and release. to move myself and to be moved by the beast which hugs the earth, which I now hug gleefully as a child returning to the candy jar. If I open my eyes underwater nothing is clear. And everything is as it should be. Am I warm? Am I cool? Have I ever left the womb? Have I ever been so happy? To run across the scratchy stretch of sand and launch myself into the blue mother, to live for that moment when I can lift my feet away from resisting earth and find myself submerged, supported, buoyant and flying. To create miniature tsunamis with my joyful hands—to reach and grab and watch splinters of water fall through my fingers. I cannot touch the bottom. There is a million miles between me and the bottom, between me and the shore, between me and the sky. I am suspended between! Look how I have become. No ballerina could twirl more gracefully in her tutu than I can in my wave-lace. It is the nature of the water that appeals to me, my hand moving through, but never able to hold, to keep. It is this fleeting moment, the joy of here, now, here, now, here, now, here, now, here, now, here now, here now the demand of being here and now to enjoy to feel to seek to sleekly slide through, but always here and now, never bottled up for later. What bottle could contain such joy? I sit on a train. I splash the last swallow of water in my bottle. I shiver delightedly thinking about the day when I can splash that water all over myself! I laugh just thinking about it. Strangers look at me curiously. I am a stranger. I am no stranger to the ocean. The water that has greeted me the world over waits for me again, and when I return it will be as a wayward adventurer coming home unlooked yet hoped for. Joyous I shall be, joyous I shall run and I will splash, I will slide, I will sigh, happiness will be my watchword, innocent as baby kisses and relaxed as a patch of sleeping sunlight. This flesh, this skin yearns to be submerged and subdued. To be carried and supported. To dive and to surface. To see the faces looking back at me curiously as I plash with a smile on my face. To be coolly wet and wholly alive.

Friday, April 07, 2006

it has been said that words--language--cannot capture the purity of human emotion, that only images, sounds, smells, movement, expressionism can.

this is a lie.

because when I read this yesterday...cheaply reprinted in the Guardian...

I cried.

"Late Fragment" by Ramond Carver

And did you get what you wanted from this life
even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved,
to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Useless ornamentation

My roommate Alison and I went to see an exhibit at the V&A today entitled "modernism" which translates roughly to "scary block buildings with no useless ornamentation, designed to hygenically house the working man in affordable and comfortable boxes." As a design movement I can really appreciate modernism, especially coming hot on the heels of Victorianism and WW1, but...I like useless ornamentation. You're talking about someone who has pulled flowers off of passing bushes and tucked them in her hair and once tried to dye her dog purple. What I liked the most was watching the videos of the modernist performances they had. One of the pieces was entitled "Triadic Ballet" choreographed by Oskar Schlemmer, and it featured costumes that reduced performers to machines performing tasks--instead of how costumes usually work. I.e, the costumes are built to accommodate the dancer's movements, not the other way around. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about. The costume at the far right is called "The Diver" and it was actually on display--a larger than life construction that was part Mardi-Gras, part nightmare.

Speaking of dance, Greta and I went to see "Le Ballet de Trockadero de Monte Carlo" on Wenesday. This ballet was actually a collection of smaller pieces, and it is unique because it is performed entirely by men--en pointe. I was absolutely astonished at the technical skill of these dancers, as well as, of course, hugely entertained by all the little diva moments they threw in to poke fun at the pretentiousness of ballet. The best piece had to be "The Dying Swan" if only because the costume the performer was wearing shedded feathers up and down the length of the stage--thereby signalling there was going to be an interval soon to give underpaid stagehands a chance to sweep it up. The show wasn't high camp exactly, but it was damn funny.

Afterward Greta and I strolled to Trafalgar Square, savouring the night air, but as we came around the corner of the National Gallery, I staggered back, threw a hand up in the air in horror and exclaimed (loudly:) "What happened to Nelson's Column?!" For behold! Nelson's Column is completely surrounded by scaffolding! Greta thought this was incredibly funny. "Nelson was so upset when you dumped him that he threatened to jump off so they had to put something up to stop him." Which set me off laughing so hard several people crossed the street lest they be infected by my demons. Seriously, though, it is disconcerting to have this "icon" of London all bundled up like an estate that's being torn down. I know St. Paul's has recently undergone the indignity of restoration, but they had a big picture of it on the front of the scaffold. Nelson's Column is just...surrounded. Except for the statue poking out at the top--which, now that it's the only thing you can see--really looks every inch of its fourteen feet.

Monday, April 03, 2006

labour pains of ruv

Someone once compared writing to giving birth. I disagree: it's like being in labour. First you get this little pain--"oops, it's time to sit down and write!" but then you have to spend a couple hours working up to actually writing. Fits and spurts. So you sit and think, then you get up and pace, then you rearrange your desk, then you have a cup of coffee, then you water your plants...maybe back to your desk once or twice when you feel a really big urge to write...but it always goes away and now it's time to go make another cup of coffee or scream at your roommates when they interrupt you. Because you really can't rush the muse ("you did this to me, you basaaaaarrgh!") as much as you'd like to finish draft five and put in "Twin Peaks." I'm sitting here now, in the midst of revising (I've no doubt, when the time comes for me to be in actual labour I will spend a great deal of it surfing the internet.) waiting for that next contraction to strike--I've got the main character recovered from a stabbing wound, but her other half has exited, so it's either break a convention and have her talk or...or wait until the muse comes back again.

Damnit, ROGER, hurry up.

Kind of exciting, isn't it? Watching me write? I know that it's unusual to say the least--writing being such a solitary thing--that to suddenly have me pop up in the middle of a draft and say hello.

Oh-oh-oh, wait....

nope, false alarm.

hmm....I wonder if I have any cake left...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

ghost stories

There is a door here that sounds like a person being dragged slowly across the floor, as if to their death in a cold dark dungeon, whenever it's shut. It's very creepy when you're lying in bed trying to sleep and all of a sudden you hear this high-pitched wail.

As far as I'm concerned, Spring is also a good time for ghost stories. You can keep autumn, with all your rattling of leaves and suddenly short days with chilly nights. Think of all the potential for the dead to rise up out of their graves through the soft earth and come after you. Not to mention all the disappointed lovers who are throwing themselves off castle turrets in a fit of despair because their men haven't returned. Think of the horror of receiving a nice fresh boquet of daffodils from someone beyond the veil. Or how much more shocking seeing that pretty Victorian lady suddenly fade away is when it's in bright sunlight.

sleep tight...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

it's a fantastic drowse

I think it's funny the less I do the more I write because I have more time to write about how I'm not doing anything.

I promise I won't write a novel this time.

I did go for a walk today.

Except now my back hurts. Stupid concrete jungle.

I also succumbed to peer pressure and downloaded MSN messnger, so now all my hallmates can instant message me:

"Hey, what are you doing?!?!?!?!"

"I' my room...on the internet."

If you have MSN messenger, then stop by and say y'hello sometime. My email address is

shazaaaam! WITCHCRAFT.