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June 2007

IK*A - its part in my downfall

IK*A. A mesmerizing and bewildering array of lifestyles are flashed at you as you, disoriented, lurch from from sofa to armchair to kitchen table to foldable tables and bed linen, kitchen fittings and wardrobes, desks and swivel chairs. Words fail me, I am unable to communicate the true experience that it was. My little mind is scrabbling frantically to hang on to one thing. Any one thing. As JB pointed out, our parents would have gone to Lourdes, this was the 21st century pilgrimage of our generation. Owwwww.
I have been IK*A'd.

It was worth it, stepping into that bright temple to consumerism, though, to see Spike's reaction to his new sheets. He was so excited, he got into his bed right away and did some pretend-sleeping and then some re-arranging of his sheets and whole sleeping area, getting in his favourite books and his fleecies, and writhing in the new duvet which was all decorated with camels and fish and worms in unlikely shades of red and blue. Soon enough it was time for me to go and meet L, so I extricated myself from the mountain of toys Spike had piled upon me, and even gave me a big hug and kiss the like of which warmed the deepest cockles of my 39-year old heart.

edith the sparrow

The director, Olivier Dahan, made use of the format you see often nowadays for biography, starting at the very end of a life and then cutting back to the beginning. This pattern shuttles back and forth along the length of a life, in ever decreasing distances, until the two parts close in at that final collapse on stage. The implicit message being: this is what she was like and this is why, where and what she came from. And what a life it was: carnivalesque, baroque, dark and tragic, the stuff of a made for TV movie. It was like Danielle Steele crossed with Marilyn Mans*n - she was born to a down-and-out lush who is scraping a living singing for a few centimes on the streets of Paris, when her father comes and takes her away and leaves her in a brothel (which, strangely, is not the worst part of her life, at all) where she loses her sight for a time. He comes back and takes her on the road - he's a contortionist, and she learns to sing alongside him to make some money. And then on to music halls, and her agent getting murdered by the mob, and being trained by another minder, and making it, her rise to fame, touring in the States and falling in love with a married man, who then dies in a plane crash, and so to drug dependency, and the rapid decline in her health. A catalogue of a life intensely lived, but in such a succession of drama, at such a pace.
What interests me though about biography is what is left out, what is edited out, and what decisions are made about accuracy to historical detail. With no experience of Piaf as a performer, I had no other version to check it against - sometimes I thought the acting was a bit large, but I don't know,  maybe Piaf was truly that way. It had to stand on its own.. which it did, finally - the final scene was good, she was singing that song that is so associated with her, that anthem, that statement, that olden day "I will survive", now so out of style and yet with its own power, for all time:
Non! Rien de rien.

And then, sudden blackness. The End.

edinburgh and beyond

Some highlights:

The elephant house, where Harry was first conceived
and the Museum of Scotland:

its views from the roof garden
and spooky gothic design features:

and Bobby the dog, and the graveyard tour where the guide, complete with black Matr*x like coat was only dying for us to be attacked by the poltergeist. And the interior of the museum:

and a lot of coffee, and nice things to eat, including a meal at David B*nn:

the Scottish Parliament building:

and the whole vertical Potter-esque children's spooky castle feel of the place, how it sits on a gorge and is layered dizzingly into the steep hill with bridges crossing gorges and not rivers and blackened sandstone towers standing over them.

elvis c*stellos

In other news, I have got some new glasses. Someone "brushed against" the old ones accidently breaking them and the optician cleverly fitted the old lenses into a new frame because they were new and all anti-scratch and super.

The new frame wouldn’t look out of place on Elvis C*stello, but there you are. I will wear statement glasses.

I think there’s a deer in the field beside Smokey. It’s morning, fine, calm and the windows are no longer filled with white mist pressing in on them. I must go up and see.

recent happenings

It’s raining so heavily, it’s almost as if there’s water pouring down the sides of the house. Yesterday Spike had some bad luck. It was :( quite a bit. He took a tumble and whacked his head in the gaaden before I got there. (mercifully. Fl*ssie’s mother isn’t the type to get in a twist about a little fall. Although she was happy he didn’t lose consciousness. Lose consciousness! Poor Bobbie would have herniated herself at the mere idea). I was welcomed warmly by some smiles and even a semi-hug and we did some drawings of MAN! and SHEK! And then poor Spikey fell off the chair where he was balanced. I think the chair itself slipped out from under him. Poor Spike. I don’t think he was hurt so much as affronted, very disappointed and saddened that the world could turn so nasty. I held him for a while and he managed to say –cies through his tears so I got his fleecies and he fell asleep.

We went to see the architect. That was good, I think. If all goes as he says, he’ll see the house again next week and do the concept drawings the week after. I think we see eye to eye. He seems intelligent, practical and calm, but enthusiastic.

Here’s hoping…

** updated to add: he now says they'll do the drawings the 3rd week of July. As Marge Simpson would say: HRRMMmmmmmmmmmmm.

Then the JB and I jumped in the car and went to Ma’s house. We took in a light dinner at the golf club and behaved like middle-aged suburban folks. (Someone should design Middleage weekends for burnt out young ones from the city. They could watch Morse, listen to opera, take a Westhighland terrier for a walk, have sherry before dinner, listen to Radio 4 and have the crusts cut off their sandwiches. Wouldn’t that be great? Verrry restful, surely.)

Fl*ssie rang me later at home to say he was all disgusted when she was there when he woke up rather than Bobbie. NO! BOBBIE! etc.

Great being a mother eh? You wouldn’t be in it for the gratitude.

And in conclusion of the Spike-minding: last night I was having ptsd flashbacks. Yes. This is the level of my anxiety and lunacy. I kept thinking, Spike fell! He could have hurt himself! Oh. But he didn’t. Repeat, repeat in endless cycle. Sigh.

I wear myself out.

Got an answer from the Fairly Worthies. It would seem that they would like to employ us, but not being at all the type to leave any (pedantic) stone unturned, they have some questions to be cleared up. This is fair enough I suppose. I see the mind of V*ncent behind this, slightly niggling and fussy-potty but with one assumes the best of intentions. Some of the questions are a bit barmy though. Like: will liquid display be included in the cost.

Eh?? Liquid what? I have not the foggiest, bots.

a missive from Afgh*nistan

Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 2:17 PM

Subject: preventing a historical defeat

Hi all

i am writing to you all from sunny northern Afghanistan. things here are mind blowing amazing. the mountains and the culture is something i cant describe . staff can tell me stories about Alexander the Great and when he pasted through Taloqan (the old capital of Afghanistan) we visited two community micro hydro projects today and it seems the all the parts are from old Russian tanks . They supply 350 houses between the two of them.

Anyway i am contemplating coming home as quick as i can . It seems that over here it is 1385 so the flight of the earls has not yet happened, if somehow the battle of Kinsale can be won then we can stop the flight of the earls and the plantation............the problem here is, that anyone with the name "[AngloIrish surname 1]" and "[AngloIrish surname 2]" will not arrive in Ireland! so there you go.

This is the end of my message from the past
all the best, P

that would be a terrible loss for Ireland. luckily we averted that bleak prospect

great to hear the stories P, would you be on for recording some of them for my final MA project?

take care and see you soon hopefully - will tell you the mad plan then

[AngloIrish surname 2]

JB is 33

He went mad on cidona

puffing at a roulade in the traditional birthday celebratory way