Saturday, December 13, 2008

lost kitten

Tonight's artwork Sepia: Stars from kitten chan at, as if you didn't already know I was a fan.

lost kitten

The lampshade gives with elephant eye an empty stare

The delete key finds purpose

I meet my destiny in each tired second

Now. Now. Now.

A scrap of fur with whiskers and paws

become a home for my caged affection

A solace or substitute for safety

taking tiny breaths and steps around my home

And where am I now

why am I waiting for you

when I don’t know who you are

This is how lost I have become

preferring purring fur to faces

Or perhaps just finding my feet again

far from the familiar

In some sense, I say,

(though in the excitement no one understands)

we are all just that

and hoping

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Animals Strike Curious Poses

Another fantastic image from my cyber friend over at Black and White - I have followed his blog for the last couple of years and it only becomes more beautiful there.

My skin is moisturised. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Beyond my window a tiny bird is singing to my bird feeder as a prelude to stealing its peanuts. Ida Maria sings to me from a freshly borrowed library cd (what an amazing service the library is - you should use it more). The Loft is tidy for the first time in a month or so and fresh laundry dries in front of my seventies gas fire. This looks like a picture of domestic bliss, at last.

Kate's blog
is back online - yay! Check it out and send her healing vibes as she recovers from New Monia in New Zealand (see what I did there - does the fun of The Daily never stop??). And while you're strutting so confidently around the blogosphere, stop off at Psyconym's blog, too - her signature image at the top of the screen is just amazing, and her posts make me feel like I'm living inside a Daniel Clowes graphic novel. Actually, I kind of fancy me and Psyconym as alternative Enid and Rebecca's - bugsy the cat mask.

Despite the many joys in the world, I am antsy. Still too busy thinking of what I desire to notice what I have. It's such a cliche to miss the obvious, and a capital error, as our Sherlock would say. I'm back at the Doyle collection today after spending the morning there yesterday with the new records project manager, Michael. I spent an hour researching an obscure skotographer called Madge Donohoe.

But what is a skotographer, Sarah, I hear the gentle readers cry (I keep typing it as scatographer, which I'm too afraid to look up in the dictionary, quite frankly).

Well, a skotographer is someone who takes pictures without the use of a camera or light, in Madge's case by pressing packages of photographic plates to her head. This is how I currently spend my spare time, analysing the pictures of spiritualist photographers, and I wonder my dreams are so haunting?!

Following my adventures with Madge, I spent a couple of hours cataloguing pictures of a medium called Kathleen Goligher, who was famous for producing ectoplasm, but trust me, you don't need me to get into that with you.

I find me impossible right now. Try as I might to outrun me, I'm always here waiting when I get home at night. Damn my persistence.

I'm flirting with Ida Maria. Her record label describes her as a cross between Amy Winehouse and The Strokes, which seems too frightening for words.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Or blow me a kiss, and that's lucky too

I can't get enough of the work of artist Silverlimit, on Check out his gallery here

The moon is a slice of cheese as white as love outside my window, against a sky as dark as a broken promise. Above the rooftops opposite the Loft is a single yellow star snuffed out in moments by the fingers of clouds, only to reappear a moment later, as hope does just at the moment you begin to feel the darkness will never break again.

My face hovers in the glass, lit by my laptop and appearing as a ghost. This is how I feel today, as if I am hardly here at all. I am verified in the reflections I catch in other people's eyes.

Eeyore days and long, sleepless nights are punctuated for me by the sound of my neighbour's all night bass line, which roars into the night as she sleeps peacefully through it. I am sleeping in the living room again. The bedroom is so cold that being in it at night makes me feel like a Charles Dicken's pauper, or a Clarendon Road Irregular separated from her merry gang.

I am sleeping badly: fitful, packed with anxious dreams and memories that run over my heart when I wake as nails on a blackboard. During the day I have endless energy but only for work. I temp, and write, and organise and write. I write for clients, for the blog, for others and, for the first time since I was a child, I write easily and fluently for myself. My diary knows me again and my notebook is crammed with outlines for stories waiting to be written. Who knows, maybe I'll even finish something......

I have not been so conscious of solitude since my childhood, a time when I wore myself like protection - unlike now, as I wear myself like a hand-me-down. I would love to feel as I did then again, complete, self-enclosed, whole. It's just a matter of practice, though, to return to that sense of myself I think, learning to hear then to trust my own voice. Practice, mixed with belief and perhaps a sprinkle of magic, faith, or whatever we're calling it nowadays. And I'm getting lots of that. Like Garbo: more often than not, I want to be alone, though it never sounds as good when I say it.

The moments I like myself best though, are, as ever, in the company of others - one among many reasons why I will always make a lousy hermit. These moments are unpredictable, unplanned, they take me by surprise: discussing with Lynda (the beauty of whom I cannot begin to describe here, and which shines so much brighter because she has no idea it's there - oops, she does now!) the impact of watching Duckula as a child on her decision to become a vegetarian in later life, or gossiping with the Chief, or guessing cryptic clues with my friend Steve as though I'm some kind of crossword autist (I sometimes arrive at the right answer, but don't know how I got there).

I spend this time alone to learn myself again, but it will always be others who teach me to love what I find. Tonight's music comes fromTerra Naomi. Like House, I never get enough of Vicodin. The song, obviously.

I still miss you Kate x

Monday, December 1, 2008

And I Must Admit That I Was A Bit Scared

Name the opening titles this is from, you crazy buzz monkeys, I double triple dare you....

I just heard from Kit Kat half way around the world and it was just about the most wonderful thing imaginable, even more so than being David Tennant's towel after his morning shower.

I always ponder in myself why it is that I never see the full-entire (which is like the Mull of Kintyre except different in every conceivable way) beauty of a thing until it is no longer with me. Things are usually no longer with me because I either have taken the thing apart and can't put it back together again or life - often with my help - has decided that, as with Kate, I am just not to have access to her for a while.

I miss her every day, but I have to hear her voice to remember with joy and pain all tied together ('laughter through tears - my favourite emotion' - life size lollipop of David Tennant to the person who can name the film that line is from. No, not really. As if I'm going to give away my lifesize lollipop of David Tennant) just how much I miss her.

Kate is recovering from being poorly, which is rubbish after travelling halfway round the world, or at least I thought so at first, but having spoken to her I think where lovelier to spend some recovery time than on the beach in New Zealand?

I've recently found Newton Faulkner and become a huge fan of his beautiful voice and quirky, irreverent, beautifully touching lyrics, so today has a little somt'n-somt'n of our Newton covering Kate Nash.

And he's ginger. Properly.

In other news, I had one too many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with James last night, though the evidence of my own eyes tells me he came out of it far worse than I did, although to balance the equation, he can programme a computo at 3am utterly besozzled out of his mind, so I guess we're even. Not that it's a competition. But if it was, I'd probably still win.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love, love is a verb, love is a doing word

Matthew Eastmond's wonderful 'Commuter Ignores Lovable Bear', which is too perfect for words for today's post. I would love to think that we are all sometimes that lovable bear. You must - and this is not a request - take time immediately (even if the dinner will burn) to look at Matthew Eastmond's website, and at his online art exhibitions. Even better, buy something from him at once.

On the train home from London. No one speaks to anyone. People are even fearful of making eye contact. I challenge this by exuberantly greeting those on the morning or evening train who choose to take the seat next to me. Generally, they look afraid, then pointedly retreat behind books, Blackberries (I don't even know what a Blackberry is, but the chicks dig it...), Metro's or mobile phones. The exception to this rule - which I have noted consistently over the past two weeks I've been travelling to and from London - is Anthony, my seat companion yesterday from Waterloo all the way to Portsmouth and Southsea. It is ironic that on the one journey where tiredness had discouraged me from venturing beyond my usual smiling 'Is this seat taken?', it is Anthony who strikes up conversation with me.

"You read very quickly," he comments after half an hour in which I have been immersed in Rabih Alameddine's book, Koolaids - which I heartily recommend, and which has a great opening paragraph:

Death comes in many shapes and sizes, but it always comes. No one escapes the little tag on the big toe.

"You have nearly finished that book in half an hour!" he continues.

I beam at him, nearly sliding from my seat in surprise, and delighted that someone else has broken my observation of non-communicative travel. For the rest of the journey, Anthony and I chat about the benefits and disadvantages of speed-reading (he reads slowly and retains the details of every book he has ever read; I read very fast and cannot remember many details within the same week, though I can always tell you if I have enjoyed a book or not and rarely forget one entirely), and our respective jobs (he is an internal auditor in Gosport and very interested that I make my living writing).

It is a pleasure to listen to him talk; he has the delicious accent of Africa I have not heard since my days with the African Women's Choir (anyone who mentions my appearance on the Big Screen of the Guildhall Square will be struck off my Christmas card list for now and all time).

As the train pulls into Portsmouth and Southsea station, we exchange warm goodbyes. I wonder why these encounters are the exception rather than the rule?

Over the last few weeks, I have made a determined effort to speak to my fellow travellers during my train journeys, with varying results. Some people welcome contact with such warmth it borders on gratitude, as if they had been longing for someone to speak, whilst others respond with a hostility that may denote a fear of my self-evident insanity at speaking to them at all.

I don't mind too much how people react; the exercise is as much for my benefit as theirs. On Radio 4's Thought for the Day yesterday morning (Radio 4 is one of my closest and best informed friends) Giles Fraser said:

The more you give away, the more you have; the more your focus in life is outside of yourself, the more you will flourish.

In a world where our similarities by far outweigh our differences (should you doubt this, try comparing humans with frogs for a contrast), and in which many of us increasingly feel isolated and alone (Ah, how I miss you Kate!!!), the temptation to 'protect' ourselves by turning our focus ever inward (or, as the great philosophers John, Paul, George and Ringo once said - it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder), I'm all for bridging the gaps between each other, even at the risk of being considered crazy (what's new, I hear you cry, gentle reader).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I've been running around always looking down

I'm taking a leaf out of The Youngest Indie's blog (see what I did there?) for a while and using song lyrics as my blog titles. If you have time, check out The Youngest Indie, one of my favourite blogs in the 'osphere, and featuring some mighty fine images, as always.

I'm delighted to find in my image search for today's post, a comic strip called 'Angry Sarah' that captures it all perfectly, by the outrageously talented Luke Pickett - clearly a genius. Turns out Angry Sarah is a recurring character of his, and I love the by-line 'An Angry Sarah Adventure' which just about sums up my life to date.

I spent yesterday in London, up at 6am and back at 9pm. My days in London are weird. The city used to terrify me but I must confess it grows on me more and more. The things I hate about it are also the things I love: the cool anonymity, no one having any interest in you or yours and the way that I never, ever really know what's going to be around the next corner. I'm also becoming increasingly accustomed to sleeping on the train. Snoring amongst strangers should be an exercise for self-confidence.

I had a great opportunity to practice patience on the way back when sharing a carriage with a group of middle class teenagers. Say what you like about young people (no, really, do - I'm no longer in that category and genuinely don't care) but the irritating type are the middle class ones, for me. All sound and banality, signifying nothing, today's uniformed emos will be the 2.4 suburbanites of tomorrow.

There were several moments when I wanted them dead, several where I just wanted them maimed and several where I just wanted to grab and shake each one of them in turn whilst screaming:

"I don't care how posh and fucking privileged you are, or how fucking hilarious your repetitious ego wank fest seems to you right now - I need you to SHUT THE FUCK UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!"

Although it took a lot of work, I decided against this in the end: partly because it's against my personal code of ethics and I know that such moments really are an opportunity to practice patience, and partly because after my last commuter trip, the judge said that another offence would result in a prison sentence (I know, call that justice? It was a public service and I only did what the other commuters did not have the nerve to do)....

So, yes, I've got a few issues right now. Missing Kit Kat is making me short tempered and intolerant. Yes, even more so than usual. Someone 'accidently' called me a narcissist earlier today and I actually found myself considering throwing him through the window of his shop. Seriously.

I think I should have some kind of public health warning - Danger, this girl has recently lost her best friend to Antipodean Travel. Do not approach her. Do not upset her. And for the love of God, don't provoke her temper.

In other news, The Magic Pixie and I were recently discussing the need for us to have t-shirts reading 'What would Kate do?' to get us through the next 12 months. Turns out, someone got there ahead of us. Truly, Kate is a human miracle.......As the Pixie says, Everyone should have one.

Until next time.......Stay patient.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's been a long, long time but I want you to know

Farewell for a year to the Kit Kat!

Well. It has been a while, hasn't it? It seems longer than just February since I wrote, but perhaps that's because so much has happened since.

My best friend Kit Kat has just left our fair climes to travel for a year. We set up a blog for her before she left so that she could keep in touch with everyone. You can find it here:

Home Thoughts from A Broad

Seeing Kate's blog made me think that I miss my own a little. This year has seen a huge amount of change for me - just when I was thinking that nothing could beat the wild changes of last year. But last year's winds of change were gentler, born of sunshine and novelty. This year's changes seem slower, cooler, like the onset of winter in all its inevitable, indifferent beauty.

So here I am, back in the land of the blogger once more.

It split my heart a little to see a couple of posts back in February that mentioned James and I moving in together. Alas, as life would have it, this was not a state that lasted long. We have since both moved on to pastures new: he that way, and I this. As the lady Alanis once said, 'Life has a funny way.'

Indeed it does. Bloody hilarious.

I've got that sinking Sunday feeling: cleaning the flat, catching up on work-related reading, typing invoices and listening to the Kings of Leon's new album (you can always rely on the Followills to keep you holding on).

I'm needing the sound of Use Somebody each day since I bought it. I've no doubt this will change as I have a tendency to fall in love with each one of their album tracks in turn, until I'm wearing the whole album under my skin like a singing insulation against the cold. Check out our boys on C4:

Sunday, February 10, 2008


He says a sky of blue and a landscape of green
balances the human mind.

But back in the real world of desks and offices,
computer screens and colleagues,
the lack of balance makes the world spin
at an angle that feels somewhat less than jaunty.

Back amongst the jokes and jaunts
and jollity of weddings to come,
the overheard conversations,
the petty frustrations,
the bureaucratic defenses,
the world is closing, folding in and over.

Behind my desk, I am subsumed
beneath a sea of paper, a tide of tasks,
the endless duty England has come
to expect of every man, woman and child.

This city, these walls; the space, the place
in which my shape took form.

I am tied to your horizon with a concrete heart.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

'Only in silent shadows and dreams...'

Thank God for the St Bernard, I may never have made it otherwise.

While I've been recovering and waiting for the frostbite to heal, I've been hanging out on Encarta. I love it. It's a highly convenient way to deposit useless facts into my memory banks and waste even more time in procrastination than an average session on Facebook.

Tonight I only went on it to look up Wallace Stevens. I've been reading a poem of his called Sunday Morning. It reminds me of feminism in a strange way, the female voice. Read it and you might see what I mean. Here's a bit of it.

Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

Does that remind you of Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath, even a little? More in meaning than in style. Then again, it could just be me.

I'm wildly hormonal today, it makes me jump erratically from subject to subject. Though I'm sure no one's noticed.

I've moved in with my partner.

This is exciting, dangerous stuff, like bungee jumping without the rope and only an outrageous amount of faith to bounce you back. Living with James makes me notice the nuances of my own insanity. I'm fascinated with the world as James sees it, yet sometimes catching a glimpse of how I appear through his eyes (as I see him seeing me, if you follow my skewed vision) is terrifying. It makes me want to shepherd him to safety and the arms of someone more normal. Well partly. I know such women exist, I just don't want to give him over to any of them. Is that wildly selfish?

But back to Encarta.

Did you know that the term Big Bang was originally coined by Fred Hoyle, who used it as a term of derision for a theory that wasn't even his and that he didn't actually even believe in himself? He actually had a rival theory of his own. But the name he gave to his rival's idea became the name that actually stuck. That must have been annoying.

Moreover, did you know that 'hind' is actually another name for a female deer? Admittedly, it probably wouldn't have been as catchy in the Sound of Music, and wouldn't have worked as a musical mnemonic, but it might have been more interesting.

I got all of this from looking up Wallace Stevens. Well, technically from the journey the poem Sunday Morning took me on (I told you that you should read it).

And did you know that Jove, as in 'By Jove!' was another name for the god Jupiter?

See. A little poetry is good for your general knowledge.