Masonic Boom

"Crazy" "Oversensitive" "Feminazi" "Bitch" bloggin' bout pop music, linguistics and mental health issues

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Winter Consumerfest

I'm taking off shortly, to collect my mum and go to Borough Market in search of free range sausages and organic cheese and the like. Mmmmm, markets.

I've succefully wrangled some time off work, so I'm unlikely to be on the interweb with any kind of regularity again until the 3rd of January. (And even then I'm likely to be bogged down in MonthEnd and even worse, YearEnd for the first week or so of January - probably right up until I have my hand operation.)

And so, gentle reader(s) - do have yourselves a lovely Winterconsumerfest, whatever your denomination or religious/cultural/atheistic persuasion.

Sense and Sensibility

So I finally got my night in with Chinese takeaway and a Jane Austen film. Watched Sense and Sensibility with my mum, only partially interrupted by my mum's howls of "Enneagram Four!" at Marianne and vague squabbles over who was hotter, Hugh Grant or Alan Rickman. (Puh-LEASE, Hugh Grant is so *wet* in this film it would be like fancying a bowl of porridge.)

I know the book so well, that it's hard to sit back and relax and enjoy the film without the constant annoyance of "THAT never happened in the book..." but I suppose it's hard to expand description into narrative, and compress narrative into a two hour film. Various characters were left out or reduced to sketches - but then again, Hugh Laurie stole every scene he was in.

It's hard to justify my love of Austen sometimes. The stories are just so ... everything tied up with a neat bow. Unpleasant things happen, but they only ever happen off screen. I suppose it's the formality of it that appeals. My mum loved the way that people greeted each other with little curtseys and bows, the ettiquette of it all, and exclaimed wistfully that she wished we could go back to that. "Yes," I snarled back at her "The good old days when women could neither own property nor earn a living and their entire lives were decided by who they married - ugh!" I'm certainly willing to trade the formality for freedom.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ice Capades

So I got home last night, exhausted and weary, thinking I was going to watch a Jane Austen film with a hot toddy in my hand. But my mother announced that Streatham Ice Arena opened its evening session at 8 and we (meaning I) were going skating.

When Dare was here, she dragged me skating at the Natural History Museum. I hadn't been on the ice in nearly 25 years, but she said she'd been taking figure skating lessons. My mother has long accused me of being so enthralled by Dare that if she jumped off the Empire State Building, that I would, too. Well, maybe when we were younger, I did follow her about like a big sister. The truth is, we actually have quite similar personalities, and things that either of us enjoy, the other one is likely to, too.

The first time I was on skates, I thought I was going to die. My balance was gone, I couldn't even remember how to move. "Keep your knees bent and you won't fall down!" Dare warned me, which proved invaluable advice. Somehow I got myself to the baby rink and pottered around until it came back. It's not like riding a bike - see, I am living proof that you can forget how to ride a back. But it is a case of muscle memory and practise. By the end of that half hour session, I could get around the main rink.

When Dare went back to Michigan, she left me her hand-me-down pair of skates (actually very good skates, I'm discovered) under the explicit instructions that I was to use them. And I'm happy to report that I have indeed been putting them to good use, and shall do moreso in the future.

Ice skating is that rare thing - exercise that doesn't feel like exercise. It's like cross country skiing - that same sense that you are flying, that you are a giant, that every stride carries you miles. Once you get your balance sorted, a sense of weightlessness and grace that I never experience in my galumphing earthbound existence. I skated for an hour, and would have done more, had not the cramps in my feet and the jelly-like sensation in my protesting muscles not driven me home.

I shall treasure the gift of the skates, and put them to more good use whenever possible.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired

Honestly, I'll feel better when I've had a week off, got some rest, and shrugged off every last bug which has been afflicting me.

Things won't look so bleak then.

Except in a pretty, Victorian, lugubrious "In The Bleak Midwinter" sort of way.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Angel vs. Devil: FITE!!!

OK, so my kiX0r-ass SisX0r Dare is in town from tonight. We're not actually related - we were born on the same day and found ourselves stranded in the same smalltown in our teenage years, taking drugs, forming bands and dreaming of escape. I've known her for nearly 20 years, but every time we're together it's like we're 17 again.

So here's the dilemma (and non-apologies to those of you who don't see this as a dilemma):

She's in town working for Teh St00g3s, who are playing ATP's Nightmare Before Xmas this weekend. "Come on down," she insists. "You can ride on the tourbus and stay at our hotel." So surely this is a dream come true - go down to the coolest festival in rock, hanging around with my teenage idols with my teenage best friend. What's the problem? It's like a dream come true!

So what's the problem? I'd have to skip a day, maybe two, off work. A week of no sleep, no rest, heavy drinking, on top of building PMT... right when I desperately need some time off. I haven't had a proper day off in weeks, with the band, and gigs and stuff. I *need* to stay home and rest, and this is the last chance I have to clean the flat before my mum comes the next weekend. (Yeah, I know she said she didn't care, but *I* care.) Plus all those other things I won't get the chance to do at the weekend - the weekly shop, the laundry, make the weekly lunch curry...

Yeah, I know. What am I complaining about? I'm even *thinking* about not going to hang out with my teenage best friend - not to mention the coolest rock stars on the planet - for a free weekend of luxury, fun and amazing music? To stay home and TIDY MY FLAT?!?!? Am I crazy?

It's like I've got an angel on one shoulder telling me to go for it, it'll be the most fun EVAH!!! and a devil on the other shoulder to tell me to be a grown-up and remember my mortgage.

Monday, December 04, 2006


It's a bit ironic, me writing about this topic when I turned up an hour late (even for me) at my job. But that's why I have flexi-time here. I can't predict how late I'll be stuck here - plus I don't work as part of a team - so I need to be free to come and go as I please.

But with *anything* that involves other people - *especially* with music - I'm so punctual it's almost absurd.

Where did this come from? I can't *stand* to wait - which is why I'd rather eat my own guitarcase rather than keep anyone waiting. But it's more than this. Music implies a kind of a discipline to me... it's so much about timing, about a group of people in coordination.

It was easy in school. Your entire life was governed by the ringing of bells. One bell told you when a class ended, and if you were not in your seat by the time of the next bell, ten minutes later, the door was closed and locked from the inside, and you were marked absent. Music lessons were part of that regimented, organised life - chorus, glee club or orchestra. The music was its own reward for timeliness, the ritual of the "ma may mee mow moo" warm-ups giving way to the acrobatics of Mozart's or Handel's hallelujahs.

In college, things were different. The regimented bells summoning us to class were gone, and it was all too easy to sit for hours in the student centre, where the *real* action and debate was, and forget all about classes and lectures. With the relaxation of the rules came a kind of freedom, which some abused.

Except in one area. It was a legend around the art school - everyone knows someone it "happened to" though no one would own up to being the perpetrator. The cantankerous conductor with the passion for punctuality. *He* took attendence just by glancing at his ranks, and could spot a missing violinist at 20 paces. If someone was late, we just sat there, the tension building with the whispers.

When the offending student arrived, with the usual excuses, he turned on them with a withering glare. The lecture, delivered in the dryest of tones. "Miss Smith, you are late. Miss Smith clearly thinks that *her* time is more important than my time, and the time of the other 50 people in this chorus." A pause, no one even daring to cough. "You are ALL dismissed; there will be no rehearsal today."

It only happened once. It only needed to happen once. Perhaps it never happened at all, and my teenage memory plays tricks on me based on the urban legends of artschool. But I carried the lesson through the rest of my life.

It's not hard to be punctual. It takes a fairly minimal degree of organisation - it's certainly not even as hard as arranging a song for four voices. You wear a watch or carry a clock. You time how long certain journeys take, door to door. If you need to be somewhere at a specific time, you *must* leave the house that amount of time before you are due at your destination - my personal rule of thumb is to allow the journey time, plus fifteen minutes of "faff time" in case London Transport goes wrong - which it almost always does. If you're early, reward yourself with a cup of coffee, a magazine, or some other treat.

Better that, than to ever be that unfortunate "Miss Smith" whose face burned with shame as the entire orchestra and chorus filed past her, flicking their resentful glances at her.

Friday, December 01, 2006

OK, OK, OK, TISSP! - You Win!

You can still flirt with me! I promise! Now just let go of my neck!

The Pattern

It's weird, though, isn't it - The Pattern?

My brain is always making patterns, spotting connections - that's what makes me such a good mathematician.

I can see the way my brain was working yesterday, and I can see the conclusions that I drew. But working from a completely wrong-headed premise.

It's such an easy pattern to fall into:

-all through teenage years, boys preferred my glamourous sister or my beautiful girlfriend to me
-in more recent years, my last only mutual ILX crush came to London to meet me, only to get off first with friend E and then with friend H
-getting totally lead on by L, thinking we were getting into a relationship, only to have him go off with A
-last night, another friend confessed that he had a huge crush on a mutual friend. (Yes, the same mutual friend that *all* my male friends (and some of my female friends) have crushes on, and insist on telling *me* about)

Then PBW goes home with Friend of a Friend and I go "WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH, boys never like me, they ignore me to go off with my friends!" and get short circuited into that learned mode of behaviour. When I never meant to be on that track to start with.

CBT, isn't it marvellous?

Message To A Muse

I woke up this morning (after bad dreams) and almost started *laughing* about how stereotypically Tired And Emotional I was yesterday. Sense returned this morning like the "hungover morning and a sobering cry" of a That Dog song.

Perplexment and puzzlement, then remembering seemingly random things PBW said to me on Wednesday night, and bursting out laughing at what he must have thought was going on.

As if I don't know that it is *entirely* in mine own head. As if he thought I was actually interested in... I don't know. A "Relationship" with him. Like, where the hell did he get that idea? What would possess me to entertain such an idea?

Hello! I'm a 36 year old woman who runs the MI department of a major finance company. I own mine own house. My hobbie is being songwriter/svengali for an indie girlband. My interests are country walks, architecture and Victorian literature.

You're a *child*. You're a 26 year old unemployed student whose interests appear to be drinking, smoking and chatting up randoms in bars.

Now maybe this sounds like sour grapes or something, but As! Fucking! If! I'm not into toyboys, and I've grown out of drunken one night stands, which is pretty much all you would have to offer me, on that level.

You *look* like my muse. That's all.

Now maybe you don't like to examine your own creativity - some people don't, because they fear that if they examine it too closely, they will lose it. But I guess you can't take the art school out of the girl. I *know* where my art comes from. I believe in that old fashioned Greek idea, that music isn't really something that comes from you, it's something that is almost channeled from somewhere else.

Maybe it's weird, maybe it's strange, but it's like an electric jolt to look out in an audience and see your muse looking back at you. But there they are, the melodies, the pictures, the stories, back again, like mine own universal radio. I know it's nothing to do with you. I know it's just projection. But I *love* this feeling. I don't love *you*. I don't know you. Maybe I don't want to know you.

Or if I do, I just want the same thing I have with your bandmate D - with TISSP! - with my other boy friends, urgent conversations about songwriting and aesthetics, a bit of flirting, leaving saucy/funny messages on one anothers' blogs, but a tacit understanding that it goes no further. Certainly not what you think I want. If you don't want that, if that's too heavy for you, if you just want to make me feel like a weirdo for being the way that I am, well, fuck you. Your loss.