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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

31 October 2005
I was standing in one of the ever-present queues there are in lady’s toilets, despairing (and not for the first time) my lack of winkie in this (and only this) situation. There was one other girl in what I insist on calling “the bathroom” (even though He Who Only… insists on pointing out that these facilities, at least in public places, don’t usually feature a bath) and this girl was spending an inordinate amount of time checking out her appearance. She was lifting up her top to fix the arrangement of the top of her trousers. She was straightening down her sleeves. She was fixing up her makeup. More than anything else, she was worrying her hair an inappropriate amount. “Yes lady, we get it, you’re a very pretty person,” I thought to myself in that bitter way that I have. “Get over yourself woman, and give us all some space to breathe, please.” Just as I was beginning to enjoy my jealous character condemnation, she turned to me and apologising for asking even before the question was out, enquired whether she should wear her hair “open or closed”, indicating as she did that she meant with or without hair tie. I thought for mere moments about this – along with a great everything else, this lady had a good big head of hair – and told her that she should wear it down. She made a face, and I then realised that the reason she had spent so long in front of the mirror up to that point is because she was having an ugly day. “I never brush my hair” she advised conspiratorially. I told her she should do whatever she felt most comfortable with, and she nodded thoughtfully and carried on staring at her reflection, which to me only revealed irritatingly perfect beauty but to her obviously contained an almost unbearable number of flaws.

When I came out of the bathroom (yes, bathroom) I noted that she had gone with hair down, and silently applauded her bravery – it’s funny how, even though probably no one else at her table would notice that she had changed the way she was wearing her hair, it would make the world of difference to her mood and therefore to the success of her night. Ten minutes later, she had reverted to tieing it back again.

30 October 2005
The parents were over in London this weekend, and while here they treated me and He Who Only… to dinner in a Turkish restaurant around the corner from their hotel. This restaurant was chosen by my father, not for the food, not for the atmosphere, not for the fact that every table seemed to be smoking flavoured tobacco, but for the simple reason that every couple of hours or so, belly dancers would come out and jiggle at every table for about 10 minutes at a time.

I’ve read the claims that belly dancing is a celebration of femininity, a celebration of sensuality, a celebration of life: it’s not, at its heart, a deliberately or provocatively sexual performance. Hmm. These two ladies didn’t seem to have heard any of these claims, sticking as they did very closely to the “brothel” end of wiggling and shaking. And so it was that I found myself in a classic sitcom meet-the-parents situation, complete with mortified boyfriend, where a lady was standing at our table, wobbling all the bits she had to wobble, with a £50 note sticking out from her impressively massive cleavage. My dad, as my dad would, was taking photographs of the lady and those breasts with his camera phone. I too was transfixed by the quivering lady’s cleavage, as she repeatedly performed a trick I have never seen done before. She was able, through the sheer delight of it all according to the expression on her face,to move both of her breasts independent of each other. That is, side to side in opposite directions. My mind boggled at the same time as her boobies, and, noticing my mystification, she “explained” how it was done by shoving them closer to my nose and doing it again, but slower. I yelled “OH MY GOD” in my most Irish of accents, she laughed, flicked her hair back, and moved on to the next table, with about £150 worth of sterling sticking out of her bra.

So there our merry group was. My mother and I were giggling for all we were worth, Dad was waving his camera about, and, bless his heart, He Who Only… was sitting wishing the earth would swallow him whole. It’s the most British I’ve ever seen anyone at any point ever.

26 October 2005
Last night I was left unattended, mainly because I desperately need to be left to study for the exam I've already deferred once and am in no position to defer again. Any time I have between now and the week of the 7th of November should be spent head in book (or more often head in hands) desperately trying to cram in some information on the developing psychology of the human child. I've gone back to my college revision habit of writing lists and lists and lists of points, then summarising the lists I've written and then finally breaking it down into bullet points all the better to be stared at in disbelief outside the exam centre as they seem to contain only hieroglyphics and nothing of any actual concrete use. I'm beginning to think that maybe none of this stuff I've been staring at for the past two weeks has gone in, but then again I keep having strange dreams in which I'm lecturing various friends on various psychology topics, or better still, running experiments on rows and rows of babies design to investigate whether very young infants can understand the existence of objects.

So last night was another one in a long row of nights where I was doing the one thing I didn't want to do, being locked in my bedroom with books and a laptop, having deliberately shut myself off from the world of dvds, internets, digital radio stations and with just over a week to go for the exam I am so ill prepared for.

He Who Only... called me to say goodnight, and see how I got on. I said study had gone "well". That was a lie. What I should have said was, I emptied my school bag onto the floor, sat on the floor and looked at the book covers rather than the insides of the books, put on my Declan O'Rourke CD and had a grand old sing-along while walloping a red balloon off every wall of my bedroom and giggling. For an hour.

24 October 2005
On Saturday afternoon I was crossing the road, having bought all the ingredients needed to make a badly planned and yet, despite all the odds, ultimately successful attempt at a shepherds pie (sans shepherd). Weighed down both by the shopping bags and the anticipation of culinary disaster (the dread of which, it turns out, was wrongly placed, as I’m apparently an expert chef type lady, and would make anyone a marvellous wife), I was paying little attention to the crossing of the road. I gave a mere glance at the men who, by way of colour, tell me whether or not to cross. The green man was present, but flashing, and so I decided on reflection to stand and watch the flashing man (going on advice given to me years earlier by a nun, but that’s another story) rather than making a dash for it. When the motorbike drove by so quickly and so close to the curb, the only reason I didn’t fall forward and into the path of the second bike, travelling at much the same speed, was the anchoring weight of the shopping bags.

An old woman had been halfway across the road, crossing with the blessing of the little green man before he had started his flashing, and the only reason complete disaster was averted was because the driver of the Royal Mail van spotted in time the potential for carnage and, quick thinking man that he was, blasted his horn at said old lady as she crossed. This caused her to stop in her tracks and was thereby missed by the first bike, the second bike and the third bike, as they roared down the road without a care. The poor woman looked like she was about the keel over then and there. When the bikes had finished, we all breathed in again, and the Royal Mail driver got out of his van to check that the old lady’s pulse was still going. She crossed over to the centre and joined me in the middle, her face looking as white as her hair.

We all began tutting, and I resisted the urge I had to give her a hug (inappropriate touching being one of the things I’m no longer allowed to indulge in, thanks to the court ruling) but the best thing about this whole situation was the fantastic yelling that happened immediately behind us.

The smallest Jamaican woman I’ve ever seen in my life set about roaring her disapproval to the rapidly departing motorbikes, screaming lord alone knows what in the strongest accent, deepest pitch and loudest bellow I’ve ever known come from anyone ever. It was particularly surprising coming from such a tiny shell of a woman. She even started a bit of jerking about, so incensed was she by the traffic infringement she had just witnessed, foot stomping and arm flapping with all her might, leaving her pull-behind-you shopping bag unattended for the moments it took to perform. The old lady and I stopped our head shaking and frankly British tutts of disapproval and stood instead in admiration, watching the Jamaican lady execute her dance of anger. It seemed so much better a response.

20 October 2005

Hello! This is my new camera taking a picture of itself. This is brought to you thanks to the hospital for sick laptops which finally came good and actually fixed Eggers my laptop rather than making him iller than he was before, like they did the last time. This time round they gave him a new brain and central nervous system, and that seems to have done the job. Everyone! Say hello to my camera Miranda! Hello Miranda!

Okay then. Let's get to work. We've all seen Serenity, right? At least twice each, yes? On the off chance that you haven't already seen it and you're a Firefly fan, and you've meant to go see it every day for the last two weeks, but haven't quite got round to it, I beg of you two things:

1. Go see it. For every day you don't see it, Joss kills a puppy.
2. Don't read the rest of this. It's so filled with spoilers it's poisonous.

Last night I went to see Serenity for the second time, because it's taken me this long since the first time to get over the fact that my favourite character in the entire series (and in the entire Joss-verse in fact, save only for the wonder that is Wesley Wyndham-Price) is kebabbed by Reavers. Seriously, the last twenty minutes of the film were lost on me the first time round, such was my gasping for air and combined admiration and hatred for The Whedon. We all know, as devotees to Our Lord and Master Whedon, that he's fully capable of killing any and everyone in sight. Hell, he killed the title character in Buffy. He stuck the biggest sword imaginable through Angel and sent him to hell. He snapped Jenny Calendar's neck and sent Fred off to the great beyond - no one is safe. And for the last twenty minutes it looked like the body count of Serenity was going to build way up past Book and Wash, and I for one honestly couldn't take it.

But yes. Deaths aside, I'm so very pleased to report that watching it for the second time round is as much fun, if not a little more fun, than the first time. This time I was able to listen to dialogue rather than hanging on for dear life through the sheer exposition and eventfulness of the first viewing. I was able to notice all the background chatting that goes on between characters, particularly Zoe and Wash, who seem to spend most of the film clinging on to each other. I was able to keep a keen watch on everything that Jayne is eating at the back of almost every single scene - if the man's not speaking, he's chewing. I even managed to catch a glimpse of Joss-as-Reaver, possibly one of the greatest director-appearing-on-camera cameos in history, as he's smacked right across the jaw.

There were more Firefly references than I had previously noticed, and (almost) everything that River babbles now makes sense. This film is almost written with second and third viewings in mind. The first time I went to see it, I was so afraid I'd be disappointed. After watching it for the second time, I'm already planning a third trip. Both times I've been in the cinema to see it, there have been at least three people - male and female - there alone, and obviously not on their first trip. Last night, a lady behind me started crying at almost the same point I did - right before the slaying of lovely Hoban 'Wash' Washburn, when leaves and winds and soaring were being discussed.

It's really interesting too to take account of the rest of the audience and their reactions. You can spot a Whedon fan a mile off from the sniggers and chuckles that emanate around. The boys behind us had obviously not seen Firefly at all, but really enjoyed almost everything Jayne ever said or did. I'm lost in admiration for Joss and his ability to entertain all comers.

And now my tiny little problems with the film: I hate the re-writing of the character of Simon. I hate that it's gone from him paying to have his sister rescued to him dressing up all sharp and shooting his way out of a building. I don't like that his relationship with Mal has changed so much, because it contradicts and cancels everything that happened in the series, and lends a lie to the thought that this band of people are a kind of makeshift family - if they're supposed to have been travelling together for 8 months, they really should have gotten over the stupid petty fighting that is the main feature of the opening post-title scene. I hate that Book was so easily wiped out of the Serenity legend. And on first viewing I hated every scene with Inara, because she was totally underused to the point of pointlessness. Although on second viewing I've reviewed that slightly, since actually Morena Baccarin does some fantastic things in the back of scenes that I didn't pick up first time round.

In short, I loved it. I was afraid I wouldn't love it, and I love it more than I thought I would. I hate that Book is dead, I HATE that Wash is dead, I love that Mal refuses to change, I love that I got upset at the sight of Serenity all dressed up like a Reaver ship, I think the storyline is genius, Mr Universe would have made a brilliant regular addition to the franchise, the Operative is one of the most frightening baddies I've seen on screen for a while, no one does jumping-out-at-you-from-the-side-of-the-screen quite like Joss, and overall, it gets a massive big thumbs up from me.

18 October 2005
To commemorate the final night of Little Sister Edel's stay in London, we thought we'd do something fun, something involving boys and something military in style. And while breaking into an army barracks late at night and having pillow fights with the junior cadets was proposed, we decided instead that a more sensible option might be to go dribble over see Rob Lowe in A Few Good Men, because Little Sister Edel knows the film off by heart, and she likes to listen to people saying things when she already knows they're going to say them.

I was more than willing to be her happy accompanist, because John Barrowman is in that play, and we all know I likes me a man who's appeared in a Dr Who television or radio serialisation. But cor blimey, I honestly had never considered the sheer number of costume changes that may be involved in this, a play about a court case. The costumes! The changes! The only way to make this play greater be to force the actors to change costume on stage, thereby allowing us all full naked stares at the manly chests being heavily hinted at underneath the impeccably tailored and tight, tight costumes. And lordy, there were costumes.

Rob Lowe in army fatigues? Hot. John Barrowman in casual uniform? Hot. John "Kevin Bacon" Barrowman and Rob "Tom Cruise" Lowe in full dress uniform, shouting at each other across a court room? HOT.

As we sat during the interval fanning ourselves with programmes and gulping down chocolate icecream thanks to the sheer HOTness of it all, I realised the only option left to the producers of this play was to use EXACTLY the same cast again, but this time make it a Top Gun stage show. Oh joy of joys the sheer HOTness of that would be enough to cause even the gayest of lesbians and the straightest of gentlemen to imagine Rob Lowe and John Barrowman playing volleyball in slow motion...

...I must go lie down.

17 October 2005
Little Sister Edel has been over visiting, and with her she brought one of those fancy pants new-assed cubes what carry music around in a tiny box and make other people who don't have one dribble with delight - you know, one of those ipod things that everyone else in the world but me has now, it seems. This morning on the train into work, a middle-aged, overweight, hair-parted-to-the-side-and-dragged-across-bald-spot was sitting tapping his foot in delight along to his ipod while I was forced to drag about with me the ton and a half weight that is the ridiculousness of my stone age cd walkman.

"Imagine!", Little Sister Edel was heard to chortle to a random passerby, "listening to the same CD over and over again!" The random passerby joined Little Sister Edel in her mocking behaviour, and I thought the chanting and the dances were a bit overboard, but I get their point.

This weekend, we were doing lots of tourist based activities, seeing as how Little Sister Edel and my good friend (and yours) Hutch were being tourists, and I decided to go all native and drag out with me my photographing camera, with which to take images to seal the occasion forever. Only, I had no film, and try as I might I couldn't find a place that sold it. "Camera film?" one of the shop owners near St Pauls responded to my request, "what is this old fashioned nonsense you speak? What are you, a cave dweller? Where's your digital spirit, you fool? Fool! Fool!" And so the other people around the tube station joined in with his chanting and his pointing (as again did Little Sister Edel) and I was made to walk away in shame, with my normal sized camera in hand.

I took some photographs later in the day, and some people began to crowd around behind me in order to view instantly what image I had caught in my magical box. I had to, of course, explain that my camera holds surprise and disappointment, not sharply focussed imagines immediately available for downloading or deletion depending on how fat the lady in the picture decides she looks. My camera instead is like the earlier hours of Christmas morning - anything could be produced, the potential for delight is limitless, and yet when everything is revealed you're left with a sense of disappointment that can never be shaken off.

And so it is that I've decided once again to try to update the stone tablets I've been using to sketch my memories and invest instead in something new fangled and highly priced, confusing and small-buttoned, frighteningly technical and easily breakable. My choices came down to either an ipod or a digital camera, and I almost immediately remembered that ipods are expensive and digital cameras aren't quite as bad, and that if I ask nicely enough I might get an ipod as a joint birthday/Christmas present, and so I'm getting a digital camera with which to make this site pretty once again, and probably discover my true calling as an astonishing photographer of stray dogs in parks and will win fame and fortune world wide.

Or at least, when I finally get it done, I can show you pictures of my bloodied feet, fresh from the tattooing.

Results of camera will be on line as soon as sick laptop returns from the hospital for sick laptops (which should be any day soon).

14 October 2005
The upshot of not having my laptop is two-fold:
1. I can't check my email accounts, because they're blocked at work. I also can't check most of sites I usually check, because at work they're classified as "dirty" or "porn detected" (which makes me very proud, I'm obviously looking in all the classy places).
2. I can't sit my OU exam.

The second one is making me quite happy, even though there are a lot of complications that go with it. I've checked with the OU on three different occasions, and apparently there aren't any computers in London at which I can sit for three hours and write about child development. I have to provide my own, you see, due to me being so special needs that I can't process my thoughts in a linear way - I have to be able to type them out and then cut and paste as appropriate until they follow some kind of logical order. This I can get away with because my kind, kind doctor in Dublin signed a note that said I have sciatica in my back (which I don't) and arthritis in my hands (which I do, but only mildly) meaning I'm unable to take an exam under ordinary conditions.

I rang the OU this morning to double check that this was all still the case - my exam scheduled for next Friday was being deferred for another two weeks until Eggers is back in action, and I've had two extra weeks to stare at the OU books on the train and at work without actually taking in a single details but the pretty, pretty pictures. The lady on the phone seemed deeply confused, telling me that a laptop wasn't appropriate for an exam - even though she had my profile opened up on the computer in front of her. I explained my health "problems" once again, and then explained Eggers' health problems, and she seemed to think that I should be able to magic up another laptop. And sure, if I desperately wanted to, I could magic up another laptop from some kind of computer hire place, but if someone dangled two extra weeks of study time in front of you, wouldn't you do the same as me? Refuse point blank to cooperate until you're granted special circumstances not available to good and honest people of the general public?

Of course you would.

So I refused to magic up a laptop, and she refused to confirm for me that I would get the exam extension, so now I'm all filled with dread and panic because I can't take the exam in less than a week's time, due to the arrival of Little Sister Edel and Hutch tonight for the weekend. Plus, you know, I've to go see Serenity at least twice next week before it's kicked out of the cinema, and then there's the double Lost on Wednesday night and I've to go to the pub too, you know, it can't be all work and no play.

12 October 2005
I'm going to watch the Ireland match tonight in the pub that at the moment holds an even record of wins and losses for Ireland. I haven't worked out if it's a lucky pub yet, but I think tonight's match will be the decider.

Now, I would never claim to be an expert on these things, but after reading a lot of coverage of tonight's match, as far as I can tell, what we need to happen is:
- We need Cyprus to beat France
- We need Switzerland to field a team that consists of 4 players and 7 schoolchildren
- We need those four players to fall asleep mid field five minutes into the match

The things that are acting against us include:
- Duff and Keane being injured (I'm regularly reminding He Who Only... that it was during a Liverpool match that Keane was injured. If we lose tonight, oh, he's in for a whole world of pain)
- The other Keane being useless for some reason
- O'Shea having those secret photos of Kerr that guarantee him a place on the team despite his previous performances

I will be wearing green, drinking Guiness, praying and swearing in equal measure and desperately texting Mrs Bishop for support during the desperate hours. She has informed me that Uri Geller will be hovering over Landsdowne Road for the duration, sending out "good vibes". Worked well for Exeter City, after all.

Oh God.

11 October 2005
The saga of the slow but certain death of Eggers (my laptop, not the American School Teachers campaigner) continues apace, finding me yesterday and today engaged in conflict with the company that sold it to me. I have never been more grateful for the concept of warranty, because otherwise they wouldn’t even be entertaining my calls.

Yesterday, a young upstart in Belfast drawled that he thought my problem was probably software. “But”, I explained, “this wasn’t a problem before I sent it into you last August.” Yes, he said, but these things just happen sometimes. “Yes”, I continued, “but this wasn’t a problem before I sent it into you last August.”

The problem is that the laptop won’t turn itself off. It comes to a certain point in the shutting down process, and then just stops dead with the screen brightly lit and nothing going on behind it. That’s not a hugely ridiculous problem, of course, and that’s the reason why I’ve waited until now to send it back to the laptop hospital – everything thing else on the laptop still works. After a fashion.

I continued to explain to m’laddo down the phone that nothing really works up to speed any more. “For example”, I explained, “I have to start Word up three or four times before it will respond normally.” Yes, he said, that definitely sounds like a software problem. “But”, I argued, “this wasn’t a problem before I sent it into you last August.”

He suggested formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows. I repeated again my opening gambit, the bit about the laptop not shutting down properly. If it doesn’t shut down, you see, it won’t re-start. If it doesn’t re-start, it’s impossible to reinstall Windows. Yes, he said, but it sounds like a software problem. If you re-install Windows, and it still doesn’t shut down properly, then we’ll know it’s a hardware problem. I tried one more time, with the not-shutting-down and incapable-of-restart and the this-isn’t-going-to-work and young bucko in Belfast responded again with his software-problem and reinstall-windows and software-problem. “But”, I whimpered, hanging up the phone in defeat, “this wasn’t a problem before I sent it into you last August.”

Last night we formatted my hard drive. Then we tried to re-install Windows. It won’t restart.

10 October 2005
I have decided that my considered response to Serenity can probably wait until the second or even the third time that I get to watch it, because even after the last few days of reasoned reflection, my brain still sticks to that one scene, and if you’re a Firefly fan and you too have seen Serenity (and it seems like many of us have, since Serenity came in as the number one film in the UK this week, hoorah and well done to all involved) you will also still be wandering drunkenly around slamming into walls and wandering off on unplanned tangents, much like a leaf on the wind, if you know what I mean. And if you know what I mean, I applaud you and ask you to be my best friend.

Today instead, I will tell you about Sunday, and the most spectacularly brilliant thing I’ve done since arriving in London. Mrs Bishop was staying over for the weekend, and that in itself is always a wondrous occasion worthy of celebration, but to mark this occasion, and to ensure that this weekend will always be known as the-weekend-where-we-had-afternoon-tea-at-the-Ritz, we went and had afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Oh good lordy, but you’ve no idea. We panicked mildly that morning about outfits, because we’d been out at a gig the night before and were feeling a tad delicate and completely unable to make proper decisions about what is smart and what is merely smart-casual. We were also unsure about dress code, because although gentlemen must wear a suit jacket, and jeans and runners aren’t allowed, there’s no strict guidelines for the ladies among us.

In the end we scrubbed up quite well, me in m’fancy boots purchased only the day before and Mrs B looking dapper, all suited and booted in glorious black. We wandered about unwisely for a bit, thanks to non-running trains of both the overland and underground variety, and accidentally ended up outside the Dorchester with 10 minutes to spare (which was surrounded by frightening Michael Jackson fans who all seemed content to stand and wait and do absolutely nothing, particularly not talk to each other) and finally flagged down a black cab. The driver was amused to hear that we were going for tea at the Ritz, advising us that we “won’t get much change”. Suitably flustered and full of nervous giggles, we’d arrived.

Even walking through the door of the Ritz, knowing you are for once supposed to be there, is eventful enough. A man directs you to the tea room, and bows. Two more men bow low as you arrive and start to scrape the floor with their foreheads while directing you to the cloak room in which you can deposit your coats. You arrive back to the main bit, stare around the place at the décor that is at once breath-takingly appalling and admirably attractive, being a weird mixture of golds, pinks and wall to wall mirrors. All around you, waiter penguins walk quickly but discreetly with pastries and sandwiches and so much silver crockery that your eyes want to melt.

We two were sat slap in the middle of it all, with the waiter penguin man standing behind us to push in our chairs and placing the napkins on our laps while we avoided each other’s eyes for fear of snorting all of our nervous laughter all over his immaculate waist coat. He bowed to face his own knees and left. We were the youngest two there by at least 30 years, if you didn’t count the two Japanese girls sitting quietly in a corner. Another waiter penguin came and took our tea order, and I ordered off menu, which absolutely delighted me. He seemed impressed, we could tell, by the twitchy manner in which his farewell bow was performed. Tea came in the leaf variety, and in massive unfinishable pots, which we continued to drink from for a full hour and a half without stopping. Yet another waiter penguin came and gave us our three-tiered tray of food: bottom filled with rectangles of sandwiches (with the crusts cut off); middle row had scones (two a piece) and two slices of fruit cake; top layer was all about the pasties, with lemon and chocolate mousse and a pavlova affair to accompany. This waiter penguin talked us through each and every bit of food, and also explained the clotted cream and jam that had arrived. He then bowed, licking the soles of his own shoes, and left us to it.

The next hour and a half flew by so quickly it’s hard to imagine that we were there at all. We bravely tackled the sandwiches first, barely pausing before moving onwards and upwards to the scones. I was in the middle of making some kind of fabulously insightful point about whatever it was we were conversing about – it was probably something to do with flowers or ponies, since we’re both ladies, I don’t remember the exact details – and I had to pause mid-sentence after I had taken a lady-like nibble from the side of the scone-clotted-cream-jam ensemble I had created. I’ve never eaten anything so exquisite in my life. My mouth and that scone became engaged to be married at that very moment, such was the rush of love between them. Sincerely breath-taking.

The pastries were on the same side of perfection as the rest of the food, and we had to refuse all offers from each waiter penguin who came past bowing and offering replacements for everything we’d already eaten. Throughout, a harp (golden, of course, to match the surroundings) was played by a man whose highly talented heart must be daily broken, as he continued to play medleys of Disney songs, Andrew Lloyd Webber hits and other musical spamming. And then, all of a sudden, like waking suddenly from a perfect dream and realising it’s Monday morning, our time was up. A waiter penguin came and whisked away our food before we’d a chance to gasp without so much as a bow, but kindly replaced them with yet more things to eat, this time some kind of cream based fruit whatsit, in order to lessen the blow of the thought that we were about to the ejected from what must genuinely be some people’s actual idea of what heaven is really like.

What I’m saying is – Yay. Tea at the Ritz is so fantastic it should be experienced by every single person in the world at least once in their life, and I’ve just today remembered I’m doing it again mid-November when another visitor comes to stay. Oh yay, oh joy, oh the merry delight of it all.

07 October 2005

I have never been so excited as I was during the first twenty minutes of this film. I was so happy I could cry, I kept inadvertently making squealing noises when near-misses occurred, and He Who Only... later told me that during fight scenes I was waving my hands around again, as if trying to push the bad guys away from the good guys. During the scarier moments (and no one does proper scary like El Whedon) I realised I was cutting off the circulation in He Who Only...'s hand.

It was so superb. Although every time I think about it (and I spent most of last night thinking about it, hence the over-tiredness of today), just one scene keeps coming back to me over and over again. In the interests of good, right thinking people like Anna (Hello Anna!) I'm not going to put up any spoilers whatsoever in this post, and a later post today will be written in white type so that if you want to read it, you can do so by highlighting it, and if you want to avoid it, you can do so by not highlighting it. See how good I am?

If anyone sees it over the next few weeks, please email me. I am absolutely DESPERATE to talk about every tiny detail.

05 October 2005
The last time we were home in Dublin, my sister whipped out her polaroid camera and demanded that we pose for a photograph. We were lounging on the sofa in the sitting room, me with my feet up on the furniture like the naughty I am and He Who Only... drinking a cup of tea. I looked up at him to see if he was posing properly or making a face, the latter of which is what his usual reaction to a camera (or any kind of third party attention) seems to be. My sister snapped.

Later that day, I couldn't stop staring at the picture. My other sister caught me staring at it and sighed "ah, another perfect moment captured forever". And as moments go, it's not half bad. I've bought a picture frame that's basically just a block of glass in which to keep it, and it sits, as if frozen in ice, in front of my beautiful new digital radio, pride of place in my bedroom.

It's not often you're aware of your perfect moments until they've passed you by. You'll be sitting at work one day and thinking back on the last day, week, month or year and suddenly something will spring to mind and you'll find yourself grinning for no reason and thinking about how wonderful that moment was, how magical or how funny or how wreckless or how stupid, but just how great it was to be there, right there in that moment.

I had one of them last night, a moment of clarity where you realise that everything is in the absolute right place, everything for once, just for that bright shining moment, was well in the world and I had nothing else to ask for. We were sitting in the dark in my bedroom, watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid being played haltingly and with quite bad resolution on the face of my laptop. I was lying down, He Who Only... was sitting up, and we were both sucking on sweets Mrs Bishop had sent for through the post. A big fight broke out in the film and I started boxing along in time with the music, as the soundtrack (along with everything else associated with that film) is just tremendous, and I looked up and caught He Who Only... looking down at me and grinning. I grinned back.

Right there. Right there is now my happy place.

04 October 2005
On the way home from Tom McRae on Saturday, I entertained myself on the tube journey from Shepherds Bush to Seven Sisters by pointing out to He Who Only… ever Serenity poster. Every. Single. One. Even the ones hanging in the stations we didn’t stop at. At one point, we stopped and the was a giant poster just outside the window we were facing, and I pointed right at it, arm out full length, and may well have yelled something like “There!”, and only then realised that it looked like I was pointing at the people sitting across from us who had just got on and had missed the preceding five minutes of Serenity based banter on my part, and Serenity based sighing on He Who Only…’s. I am a joy to date, you know.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a film as I am about this one. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to something so much as this. I’ve been following the development news ever since it was first commissioned, while at the same time painstakingly avoiding spoilers from all around, which makes my usual daily visits to Whedonesque very frustrating – so many shiny things to look at, and nothing for me to click on.

I had a dream last week which I woke up from with a deep feeling of dread. I had been attending some kind of fan-based event – something I’ve never done and have absolutely no intentions of doing – and had wandered into some kind of room backstage, in which Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon were hanging about. Gina and Nathan were sitting watching Serenity the Big Damn Movie, and Joss invited me to join them – it had only just started, he assured me, and it had, as the first few scenes seemed to be taken directly from one of the episodes of Firefly. But every time I sat down and started trying to get into it, Joss would interrupt me by pointing something out in the other room, or asking me to look at something, or some people would come in and everyone would start standing up and moving around, and I just couldn’t watch the film.

It was horrible. Serenity was being dangled in front of my face, and I wasn’t able to watch it.

I woke up, and it didn’t take me long to work out the deeper meaning of the dream: I’d been planning to go and see Serenity at least twice on the opening weekend, you know, do my own little bit towards getting a sequel to the film. But then all these plans started building up around that weekend: football matches, music gigs, comedy gigs, going for tea at the Ritz, even talk of being tattoed, and it seemed like there’d be no time to fit in one, let alone two, trips to the cinema.

But as luck would have it, there are previews. I forget about previews, always forget to factor them in. I’ve never before been so crazy desperate to see a film that I’ve booked tickets in advance, let alone two weeks in advance, let alone for a preview screening, but the happy joyous news is that on Thursday, myself and the deeply understanding He Who Only… will be skipping our way joyfully (well, I’ll be skipping. I’m sure He Who Only… will be adopting a more manly stride) to Angel where we will be watching Serenity, and I will be squealing with joy and delight.


02 October 2005
Another moaning post, so close to the last one, but these things need to be addressed, and since at the time I wasn't able to say anything (other than under my breath), if I don't blog it, I shall burst, I really shall.

I know everyone has the same experience at music gigs, and I know that everyone feels that their nights are slightly marred by this experience, and I think at this point I may have found a solution. The problem: people talking, loudly and in groups, during EVERY SINGLE SONG. The solution: shooting them through the head segregating the audience.

I propose that two sections are allocated in every music venue. Audience members are allowed to choose which section they want to stand in. One section - up the front, near the stage will be the section in which people are interested in the music being played on stage, where people will be attentive and enthusiastic, and face the right way, and know what fucking gig they're attending. The other section - down the back, near the bar, will be section in which people don't give a blind shit about the people standing near them, where they can talk about how many albums they own and how many times they've seen Oasis live, and aren't annoying the living Christ out of those of us TRYING TO LISTEN TO THE NICE MAN SING.

Last night, we went to see Tom McRae, and he was his long-haired miserable, fantastic self, if a little less chatty than he usually is. Unfortunately the audience were a lot more chatty than they usually are. One of the girls beside us declared, once every three songs that "Oh, this one is my favourite!", and then talked loudly the whole way through it. During a particularly miserable song (although most of Tom McRae's fall in to the category) someone on the balcony upstairs actually asked this group of girls to shut up. Those around us were limited to the turning around and staring significantly at them, but at one point I was moved to mutter "shut the fuck up" during a quiet moment, and I do hope they heard, even if they did mainly ignore it.

I can cope with smoking around me, I've gotten used to that again. I can cope with over enthusiastic shouting in between songs (one guy behind us shouted after every single song, the whole way through the night "Play it again! Play it again!" and someone else kept requesting Teenage Kicks). I can even cope with people singing off tune along with the songs, but Jesus Fuck, would you please STOP TALKING DURING GIGS. It's only about two hours out of your life. You can talk before and after the gig. Why the fuck can't music gigs be treated the same as the cinema? You wouldn't dream of yelling the whole way through a film, would you?