Category Archives: TV

I'm Going To Be Away All Weekend Again So…

…have some of the Notes I found on my phone.

Nine:

Rob says: “PESSAMIST: DIFFICULT IN EVERY OPPORTUNITY.

OPTOMIST: OPPORTUNITY IN EVERY DIFFICULTY”

(I love him but he can’t spell).

Six:

I wonder what of the music being made now will stand the test of time:? I have a theory that by and large the music that hits the charts now from less popular genres has broken through that particular barrier so maybe they will last?

(As you might have guessed the time stamp on this one is definitively the wee hours).

Eight:

I have actually developed a minor crush on that last guy becuase he takes photos of his pets and flowers :S !

Renegade Brass Band.

(talking to H at photosoc one night. Well, writing her a note, anyway).

Four:

Some kind of emotional dive bar I crank out the same feelings like cheap spirits or piss-weak beer in seedy profligacy. Discounts and doubling up so you get twice as much cliche for your cash and could drown your wretched face in the brine spilling from my eyes.

I imagine my heart skittering across a tiled marble floor – black and white, Italian, leaving a trail of shining scarlet blood, gappy, clotted, lumps and gouts and thin translucent trails between, and the toe of your shoe as you walk away, red on brown leather, pointed, shining.

(Jenny goes all emo ‘n’ ting).

Three:

‘Course you’re not, you’re not scared of anything. Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard!’

(The first episode of the latest series of Doctor Who. As if you didn’t know).

Ten:

“…and every time we did it, it was destroying me inside…”. X’s testimony. Sex. Guilt. Oh, help.

Five:

Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards.

Seven:

Random Man At Bus Stop: What he’s looking at is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen, yet he can’t quite believe it and however much he loves it it hurts his eyes as it – she? – and now (if I ever wasn’t) I am extrapolating wildly, from my mute seat here in this bus in the slowly waking springtime heart of the city – walks towards him. The end. The beginning. Chapter One.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one that makes up stories about the people I see waiting for buses/on trains/on other journeys?)

Two:

You are the person that I love most that I’ve ever met. Shofolk sandals, £125.

(No, I don’t know either. I think one’s a quote from what is quite unreasonably one of my favourite books, and one is, well, shoes).

The rest of my notes are excruciatingly dull, the end.

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The Leadership Debates

Last night I watched David Cameron, Gordon Brown, and Nick Clegg fight it out live on air. It was really very interesting, made all the more so by watching it with my uncle T, and A (A was driving me to Birmingham, we’d arrived in Birmingham just in time for the debates, he stuck around, we had a lovely evening).

Also there was fruit and nut mix in the larder so I put out a bowlful of it and my uncle picked out most of the nuts and ate them. Never mind.

I came away feeling that  David Cameron looked like the weakest of the three, very obviously on the defensive and really not doing to well at that; his policies didn’t seem particularly strong to me, and, well, to be fair, I was never going to be that keen. Gordon Brown really warmed up in the course of the debates, smiling and confident and to be honest he was the one putting David Cameron on the defensive. He’s obviously a very bright and conscientious man in a way that didn’t ring true in the other two candidates. I have to say I really like him, and seeing him live in action I like him even more now, just as a person. Whether that’ll convince me to vote for him or not I don’t know, because I didn’t agree with him on all points and in many ways all three parties said very much the same things as one another. Nick Clegg meanwhile seemed to keep repeating himself – his argument at the start of every question seemed to be along the lines of ‘we’ve had a Conservative or a Labour government for 65 years and they keep screwing up and now it’s time for a change’. He did start to sound like a stuck record and although it was a good point, perhaps, he didn’t seem to have many other good points up his sleeve, at least not memorised and pulled out in front of us last night as he should have done. And I don’t feel that it’s a good idea to get rid of Trident – yes, I know it’s sodding expensive, £100bn over the next however many years or whatever the figure was, but as my uncle pointed out that Aneurin Bevan (I think?) once famously said, ‘it’s like going into a conference room…naked’. If we do not have nuclear weapons we are more at risk from more volatile countries and more volatile leaderships who do have them, or who manage to acquire them, and yes, having them means that we need to be prepared to use them, and I really don’t know how I feel about that, but I guess I feel that I hope that by having that nuclear deterrent we will hopefully never have to find out whether we would use it or not.

The other interesting point (although they repeated this time and time again on Newsnight and in the News at 10 afterwards) was that Brown and Cameron kept saying how much they agreed with Nick Clegg on this, that and the other. Were they buttering him up, or buttering us up? I suppose with so many people actively wanting a hung parliament it’s a fair shout. I was also surprised that in the analysis Clegg seemed to come out on top, most popular, most well-argued, and I don’t really feel that he was. We’ll see, I guess.

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Memory

It’s a funny old thing. I was watching True Blood earlier today and there’s a number of episodes in which a maenad hypnotises the whole town into having vast orgies and parties and things, and when they wake up they have no memory of all the fun they had, which makes me wonder what was the point of all that.

What is the point of having fun if you can’t remember it afterwards? It’s a funny question, because surely the point is that you enjoyed it at the time? But for me a significant part of any thing I found enjoyable is being able to look back and remember, ah, yes, that tasted good, or that was an incredible night, or you said that, and it mattered, you know? Even at the time an important part of almost every experience is knowing that I’ll remember it, perhaps treasure it.

So therefore in the case of True Blood I really can’t see the point in entrancing a whole town into having an orgy; and drinking until one blacks out… To you, the things you did in that state may as well have not happened, and yet they did.

Odd what we human beings will call ‘fun’….

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Wallander…

…has been having a pretty shit year of it so far. And now his dad is dead. Wallander had to shoot someone a couple of episodes ago and he was in a right old state for a few months afterwards, moping about all over the place. He has a pretty dysfunctional relationship with his daughter, and now his dad’s dead. Great. It makes a great antidote to Lark Rise To Candleford which precedes it in the Sunday schedules. Which was as usual very jolly this week although lots of secrets came out and our Laura’s getting herself in deep trouble with this slightly eggy new man about town, Daniel Whatsisname. My head keeps saying ‘Cleaver’.

Anyway, that was my Sunday night, sitting on the sofa, drinking herbal tea, eating biscuits, holding my bear (as a sort of non-annoying cat substitute), feeling slightly homesick (for pretty much the first time) and watching Lark Rise and then Wallander.

What I don’t like about university is not the being away from home per se, because this here in Uni Town is home, and will feel like it soon, as much as my parental home is, it’s the moving back and forth, the two lives, here and there, the different people I see, the just as soon as I feel really happy and settled with one set of people we go jolting off to the other end of the country, say goodbye, and get in with a different set, and then do the same thing all over again, but the other way round, a few weeks later. I just want one settled home, one life, one coherent existence, this is me, this is how I live. Rather than trying to recreate the one in the place of hte other, until I get back into uni habits which I then want to impose on my home life and can’t, and so it goes on. It’s an unsettling way of living and I’m not sure it’s even healthy.

Anyway, as I write, Wallander is still going on (post-scheduling tool strikes again) and I want to watch it.

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Fresher’s Flu

Yes, already. Just when I want to be going to lectures and searching for a job and auditioning for choirs and making a really good decent new start to the year, and here I am stuck at home with a brain shrunk to the size of a pea and my head all stuffed up and dopey and my throat killing me. I am not impressed.

Meanwhile the last few days – since this is my first entry in ‘real’ time for a while – have been fun. All jobhunting and organising and box-ticking and form-filling, and last Saturday our first ever night out as a house, which was great fun. But all of this has obviously been stressful, that, and settling back into an old town, in a new house, with people I haven’t seen in months and not the people with whom I spent the summer. Change and things, and unsurety, and not being able to move into my room for a few days because for a few days we didn’t know which room it was going to be. So yes, stress and unsureness and change and new things. You can see what’s coming. A total crash in confidence which had me eating even less than I had been all summer and somehow my eating became (has become?) a big deal. And now I’m aware just how illogical I’m being, I’m trying to be more sensible, it’s working. And I’m all signed up for counselling and I’m going to the doctor’s regularly and it’s all going to be fine.

Meanwhile I’m watching something called The Real Housewives of New Jersey which is a hilarious show about all these insanely rich housewives who dress and act and wear their hair like they’re still seventeen. It shocks me. All shopping and ‘I’m going to get breast implants even though my hubby is more of an ass man…’ – their husbands clearly being the ones controlling the purse strings. And their relationships with their children – they seem like children themselves, these super-rich housewives, and selfish with it. Every relationship they have is all about them, until it’s all about how their children are hurting them by being a bit unthinking in their manners, the whole thing is about image, and about themselves as central characters, not as mothers overseeing the growth of whole new adults. Protected, selfish, insulated from a world that is changing and in which they cannot responsibly continue to live the lives they are living, buying their children cars in exchange for good grades, but then denying them those self-same cars because they get a little tetchy at a mother-and-daughter photoshoot. Women with perfect limbs and perfect boobs and completely vapid brains, still gossiping about the tedious ins and outs of some completely adolescent relationship of one of their single friends and I can’t believe that at the age of, what, forty at the outside? they can still be happy with this life in which they are honestly still seemingly about seventeen albeit with a lot more ready cash.

More than that I can’t believe I’m still watching this. Goodnight all.

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I Am A Twenty-Something Girl Living In The Noughties…

…of course I think I’m fat. Pretty much the whole world is geared towards making me feel fat, towards assuming that I already am or at least feel fat, and towards helping me feel more insecure about whether or not I am fat.

I know I’ve ranted about this one before but it still really annoys me, and talking to P last night I realised I am being completely illogical about all of this, so I think it’s worth reiterating. It starts with the Disney Princesses and other childhood heroines – beautiful and slim and elegant in long floaty dresses, and you could never attain such beauty, of course. Then you get a bit older and you start to read magazines aimed at pre-teen girls and I promise, promise, promise you there are diet tips and exercise fads and things in there marketed directly at twelve-year-olds; you’re already being shown ‘fashion to flatter all figures’, but meanwhile school is doing its best to put you off getting exercise at all ever because for crying out loud you’re twelve years old, your hands and feet are huge and where the hell did those thighs come from and you’re incredibly aware of your body and you’re expected to wear slimy white really short shorts? Hell no. And meanwhile over in the centre of the gym the Dance Set are gyrating around chairs with impeccable hair and make-up and not an ounce of fat on them except for the fact that at age twelve they already have perfectly perky, round, grown-up boobs (or perhaps they’ve already mastered the art of bra-shopping, something which takes the rest of us about a decade, but never mind).

You’re insecure and completely exaggeratedly aware of every last part of your body and yet you grow up and it becomes public property because the first thing anyone thinks about a girl, or says to a third party about a given girl, is almost certain to be some kind of comment on her looks or the way she physically presents herself or dresses, or some kind of veiled criticism of the same – ‘oh, it’s such a shame, she’s such a lovely person’ (I’m sure you can guess what it is that is the ‘shame’ here).

And you’re growing up and changing and you’re not cute any more, you’re not the Daddy’s little girl you used to be, and so your parents will also feel that they have free rein, to comment on your figure, and suddenly on the one side you’ve got any well-meaning parent going ‘are you sure you should be eating that’ whenever you’re offered seconds or pudding or something, and on the other side you’ve got magazines and telly and newspapers and books and things, a whole industry based around making you infeasibly aware of all your slight imperfections, diets, regimes, products, throwing words in that you hadn’t even worried about before – ‘bingo wings’, ‘cellulite’, ‘orange peel’.

Every single page in any given magazine will say something about your figure – and will assume, because they’re aimed at a specific demographic, that you are dieting, that you want to diet, that you’re slightly overweight – and because the entire world, without even knowing who you are or of your existence, assumes you’re fat because you’re a woman, or at least that you think you’re fat, and because everyone else thinks you’re fat, you think you’re fat, because of course all your friends also think they’re fat, and if they think they’re fat, then you must be fat too because look how thin they all are, so-and-so has a far flatter belly than yours but then her thighs are gigantic, but then so-and-so has stick-thin legs but huge boobs, or whatever – and theyr’e not necessarily thinner or fatter than you they’re just different but suddenly you’re in competition with every woman you know.

And if you’re in the slightest bit insecure all of the above will trap you from the age of about twelve and you will think that just because your belly isn’t perfectly flat, or your arms perfectly toned, that your body isn’t fit to be seen in public, so you’ll cover up with leggings and cardigans and tops that ‘skim over all those unsightly curves’ just like the magazines say.

So yes. I think I am fat. I think this because I have been told to think I am fat by every influence on my appearance since I was old enough to care. I first looked at my thighs and thought they were horribly fat when I was eight. And I’m not stuck up or obsessed with my appearance, I am an average, slightly geeky girl, who dressed in blues and sludge greys and browns until she was about fifteen, and has only really learned to enjoy clothes in the last couple of years.

And, furthermore, I am not fat. I’m not toned, because I don’t get enough exercise. But I wear clothes that are usually size 8-10, and since when has a UK 8-10 been fat on a 5’7″ girl?

And what is more, just to point this out, men do not get this kind of scrutiny, they really don’t. There is not the same media obsession with which male celebrities are fat or thin, toned or not, what they eat, how they exercise, and so on. Media aimed at men talks about computers, cars and girls, and not, as a rule, about buying shirts that ‘hide that beer belly’ or trousers that ‘flatter that post-Christmas silhouette’.

I am normal, thank you. I really don’t get how or why a whole huge facet of media and entertainment and bookselling and so on is actually based around cynically making money out of the not inconsiderable insecurities of half the bloody population. And if you’re going to do that to us women then damn well torture all the blokes with their imperfections as well, because this just isn’t fair. I am twenty years old, I’m probably about as pretty as I’ll ever be, and I would actually quite like to enjoy it while I can. As should all of you.

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On The Bright Side

Revision itself may be head-numbingly awful, for all that I am genuinely interested in at least some of what I am revising. However there’s something about revision time which turns every break into a major treat – a cup of tea suddenly seems like heaven, while the chance to sit down with a glass of water and some water biscuits, prunes, almonds and pine nuts (my house isn’t very good at snack food) an unalloyed joy, especially when accompanied with a good old dose of Grey’s Anatomy, current Mindless Viewing Of Choice. So yes, currently I am in the lap of luxury, curled around the help of clothing that currently dominates my sofa, with my laptop, aforementioned snack, tea, water, and blanket. Just for half an hour.

Then it’s back to the desk, with a steaming cup of tea, which in itself will be wonderful. Meanwhile I finally fixed my glasses, which are 0.25 dioptre stronger than the spares I’ve been wearing since Christmas. I wear my glasses all the time; and just now I switched over to the newly-fixed and stronger glasses, and they gave me a headache within ten minutes. Explanations?

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Uncomprehending

Currently I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy, which I haven’t for a long time. It is as you probably know an American TV show about a group of doctors in a hospital in Seattle, and in the episode I’m currently watching they have to treat a man who is on Death Row and it’s really very interesting to see the different ways they approach this, and the different ideological positions the various characters occupy.

I mean, honestly, how do you treat a man in hospital when you know he’s lined up to be killed at some point in the next few years and has probably done something terrible? Myself, like one of the characters, I wouldn’t be able to think about him as a criminal but only as someone in pain and in need of help I could give, I think. Other characters took up the position that he was a terrible person and therefore when he was asking for more painkillers they were less likely to hand them over because he could go without them and still survive, and didn’t deserve that medication. I don’t understand that.

Frankly I don’t understand the death penalty either, being a pretty run-of-the-mill liberal Brit, but if this show is anything to go by, that and what little cultural knowledge I have about America, not a small proportion of Americans across all of society would agree that that man deserves to be killed for what he did, and that he doesn’t deserve to be treated like a human being because all he deserves is to die.

I just don’t understand. Do you?

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Sorry About The Hiatus

In that time I have packed up, stayed at R’s for a few days, and come home.

To unpack that statement a bit (oh, ha-ha, a packing pun… I must be tired; either that or being back home around my family, and my father especially, has affected my mind. Either way, profuse apologies) – to unpack that statement a bit, what I mean is, I spent a few nights with R, watching films, playing MarioKart, drinking Pimm’s and ogling Daniel Craig, going to the cinema, trying (and failing) not to spend money (new dress! new dress! new dress!), and in the daytimes I would come back to my flat while she worked and attempt to pack up my stuff, panicking a little bit more each day until on my last night in halls, I spent the night in my room with A telling me, do this, do that, now put that there, do you really need that at home, do you really need to do that right this minute, is that crucial, now throw those things away, you’ll never get anywhere if you sit there panicking all night, and overall, being incredibly useful and a total pain in the arse. And calming me down a lot. A lot of calming was needed. Not a lot of packing was done because I ran out of boxes and didn’t have the gumption to think up a solution to this problem, and my decision-making skills essentially collapsed, and in fact, we were very close to a full-out breakdown, but it’s probably an achievement that I made it to morning, sanity intact, if not utterly packed.

Then my parents showed up the following day to – they thought – put some stuff in the car, take it to R’s, put the rest of my stuff in the car, and take it home. Not so. I wasn’t even half home. So me and my parents and my sister and A spent the day putting possessions in bin-bags and boxes and taping them up and packing them up and it all took a darn sight longer than it should have done, which is entirely my fault. I had the second most inconvenient migraine of my entire life so far, we ate horrible freezer-dregs (cheap chips J had left, hash browns, peas, and lots of ketchup), and consumed a lot of tea. Finally it was all over. There was a lot of panic involving the loss of the various keys I’d acquired over the year (I think over the last week, about three were found in my room, and I swear I don’t owe any money for them, but Student Services swears otherwise), and one set has now been located back at home, so I’ve got to post that back at some point, but somehow we all ended up in the car heading into town to get to a restaurant where A and his sister had dinner with me and my family and everything was somehow lovely again, and then we drove to my aunt’s, a useful half way point, and finally, on Saturday, made it home.

Then on Saturday night I went to Stonehenge with H and S and S’s boyfriend C. These are new friends and I met them through a Scrabble game at Easter, so I’m surprised and flattered that we’ve all stayed in touch. I had a brilliant time, although I am still tired. Stonehenge at the Solstice allows everyone to get right up to the stones and touch them and get inside the circle and watch the sun rise. It’s messy, there are a lot of drunk people and drums and drugs and dogs and so on, but it was quite an experience. A bit cloudy, but very atmospheric. And it’s always good to meet new people. For someone who is actually quite shy it’s surprising that I so enjoy meeting new people – at least when we click. And S is having a barbecue this weekend so I’m very much looking forward to that. I am, apparently, Pimm’s God for the night. Which could be interesting. Panicked questions are going through my head constantly – what kind of lemonade – cloudy, clear, or should we be original and use tonic water which I prefer but some people really don’t? What kind of fruit? How much fruit? Should I soak the fruit beforehand, and if so, in my fridge before I leave, or will it get mushy if I leave it too long, would it be better to take it with me and soak it there? And do I soak it in Pimm’s or some other kind of spirit and if so what? Yes, I panic a lot. Panicking seems to be the theme of this entry. And most others, thinking about it, actually. Anyway, ideas?

That’s about it from me, I think, meanwhile – as here, it’s Telly O’Clock. How oddly tragic that for me, at home, nine in the evening means one thing, and one thing only: telly. Oh, how I have missed this: a good portion of nice, cosy crime drama, followed by a palate-cleansing dessert of BBC News. Good to be back.

Although that said I miss university, I think. More, I miss what it could and should be, next year, I already miss the new house I don’t yet live in. Which is good, I think.

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You’ll Probably None Of You Know What I’m On About Here.

You know on Channel Four they have those adverts for BT, and they’ve had a sort of ongoing plot – a man, and a woman, and he moves in with her and her kids, cue him needing to get a new internet provider/phone line/deciding to teach the kids all the fantastic things they can do using the net/and so on? Well, I just love these adverts, I really do. The one before last was him lying nervously in bed all alone and talking about a ‘make or break’ point in his relationship where ‘you absolutely have to get the only two remaining flights to Rome and then your internet cuts out. And then you remember, it’s just a bad dream, because I’m on BT’, or something like that. Now, the very latest shows him ringing up his father, and the only script in the advert is, ‘Dad, I’ve got some news’, and then we have a whole series of shots of his parents clustering round the phone and smiling a lot, whilst his girlfriend, meanwhile, is phoning her girlfriends, cue lots of whooping and giggling and dancing about and her throwing herself back onto the sofa, and lots of people mouth the words ‘getting married’.  The BT people are getting married! These adverts making me feel all warm and happy inside – and they’re probably about the only adverts on telly that I currently like. Partly because the soundtrack to them is Nick Drake, whose songs I love.

But where can they take it next? What’s the next development going to be in this plot? Things can surely only go downhill from here… .

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