Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just another day in the office

Caller: Another thing you might want to look at - I wonder, I mean sometimes I wonder, whether this whole cancer thing isn't just a money raising opportunity.

Me: Uhhhh.

Caller: I mean, what were people doing 100, 200 years ago? They were using natural remedies.

Me: But, um, life expectancies were a lot shorter then, of course.

Caller: Were they though?

Me: Um... yes.


I swear this blog is not turning into Poetry Corner (two blog posts in a row - I know, I know). I barely even read poetry these days and when I do my tastes are embarassingly mainstream, unoriginal and kinda childish: I like W.H Auden and Robert Frost, T.S Eliot and Siegfried Sasson - poets who write the kind of comfortable and familiar verse known to schoolchildren. Sometimes I pretend I like Geoffrey Hill more than I do but I don't think I'm quite smart enough for him somehow and other than the odd lovely line or two ('One cannot lose what one has not possessed'/So much for that abrasive gem./ I can lose what I want. I want you) mostly his words just wash over me.

All of which is a very long way of apologising in advance for reprinting a lovely Clive James poem published this month in The New Yorker but it's so so lovely and sad I can't even bear it. I have long been a fan of James' journalism - his wit and great talent with words - but I never realised what an awfully pretty poet he is. The fact that he's producing this kind of stuff at the very end of his life is somehow even more impressive. Faced with looming death I'd probably spend my remaining days doing something stupid like finally watching The Wire.

Leçons de Ténèbres

But are they lessons, all these things I learn
Through being so far gone in my decline?
The wages of experience I earn
Would service well a younger life than mine.
I should have been more kind. It is my fate
To find this out, but find it out too late.

The mirror holds the ruins of my face
Roughly together, thus reminding me
I should have played it straight in every case,
Not just when forced to. Far too casually
I broke faith when it suited me, and here
I am alone, and now the end is near.

All of my life I put my labour first.
I made my mark, but left no time between
The things achieved, so, at my heedless worst,
With no life, there was nothing I could mean.
But now I have slowed down. I breathe the air
As if there were not much more of it there

And write these poems, which are funeral songs
That have been taught to me by vanished time:
Not only to enumerate my wrongs
But to pay homage to the late sublime
That comes with seeing how the years have brought
A fitting end, if not the one I sought.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This Be The Verse

I kind of made this joke(?) on Twitter but seriously Philip Larkin's lovely poem, "This Be the Verse" is both a very good poem and a near perfect review of The Place Beyond the Pines, no?
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extra, just for you.  
 But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.  
 Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself.

Note to self: try using the word "orgiastic" in conversation

I love The Great Gatsby a lot. It has occupied a place in my top three favourite novels since I re-read it in first year uni and suddenly realised what I had failed to the first time I read it: It's a perfect novel.

For a long time during my extremely pretentious years (yes, they have finished. Also: shut up) I had this quote - 
"And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
- on the wall of my bedroom as the centrepiece of this totally mad wall quotes thing I had going on for awhile and which my parents somehow greeted with endless patience. Yes I was an insufferable child but honestly I could read and re-read that little but all day it's just so gorgeous.

Once upon a time the prospect of having a favourite novel made into a movie would have terrified me. Lord knows, I have complained constantly about the string of shitty movies based on Philip K Dick short stories - another author over whom I feel a mild and entirely ridiculous sense of ownership. I don't like seeing things I love interpreted by someone else. I have no sense of generosity, only a burning feeling of entitlement that everything should belong to me and me only.

Yet somehow - how I do not know - I have achieved a zen like calm ahead of tomorrow night's screening of Gatsby

I like a lot of Baz Luhrmann's movies, I like his flashy, simultaneously sentimental and incredibly unsentimental style and I think it suits the source material well but that's not it. I have suitably lowered my expectations, thanks to a fair smattering of mixed reviews, but that's not it either. Somehow I have realised at the tender age of 30 what has eluded me thus far: the realisation that even if the movie is shit it doesn't actually diminish the book. At all. Even if it's a stinking pile of poo I will still have that book to read as many times as I want.

These lovely lines - 
"They're a rotten crowd," I shouted across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together." I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time."
- will be mine for as long as I want them. Which is quite a comforting thought really.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


... little collection of authors' hand-written book outlines is entirely charming if you have read any of the books in question. And if you haven't why aren't you reading Catch 22 right now? Because. Holy Shit. That book. Is bananas.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's a lot like my Is It Dinner Time face actually

Ok so it may seem like I spend all my time watching trailers and getting excited but I challenge you - I CHALLENGE you - to watch this trailer and not sort of agree with everything Lainey says. If you were here right now you would see my Is It November Yet face.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The preview clip that foiled my plan to keep my expectations basement level low:

Damn youuuu.

Overheard at my desk

Him: I saw a lot of girls in France that looked like you.

Me: (Barely hiding my delight) How so?

Him: Short dark hair, red lipstick.

Me: But the original is still the best, right?

Him: Well they speak French so....

Me: Oh.

Him: Yeah.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ways I have justified not getting out of bed yet this morning:

1. I'm sick. I definitely need some extra rest time before work.

2. It's really cold.

3. I'll have a really short shower.

4. I'll get dressed really quickly.

5. My hair's so short now it hardly even needs a blowdry...


1. Why do I only ever seem to get sick on the weekends?

2. Why does my head feel like it's wrapped in cottonwool?

3. If I double dosed on cold and flu tablets that would totally be twice as effective, yes?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I think...

... the title of this tumblr, The Worst Room, says it all. But this photo really drives the point home.

Things to read

This charming, happy-sad article on sex and disability is worth reading for the line "George Clooney rendered as a Sesame Street Muppet" alone.

Famous people I have been told I look like in order of how happy-to-suicidal the comparison made me feel.

Rose Byrne

Pia Miranda
(Pretty sure this referred to me only in my (much) younger days and Pia Miranda cira Looking for Alibrandi but I'll take it)

Katie Holmes
(Yes this was from a gent who was trying to get into my knickers and yes he was very drunk and yes it was very dark but I'm TAKING IT ANYWAY. Also I will say this: we both have one slightly wonky eye. So... there.)

Elaine Benes
(Is this about the brogues? I think it's about the brogues)

Janeane Garofalo
(No the fact that she's nearly 20 years older than me doesn't make me want to kill myself, thanks for asking)

Nana Maskouri
(Fuck you, Stuey)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reasons to like my friends #13

They (by which I mean the wonderful Clowney) sent me a link to this. Also we spent an afternoon drinking wine in the sun while her seriously ill father mowed the lawn. It was awesome.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Call me crazy...

... but I really think more girls would take advantage of our free work gym if it didn't require having one's boobs measured by a strange man every three months. Or possibly if the gym reconsidered its hiring policies.