Monday, 12 November 2007


Went to the hopera on Friday, with Christian, Joy, Michael Nabarro and Anna, whom I didn't know beforehand - very exciting! Was Carmen at the Coliseum, which is a good sort of thing to start with if, like me, you're not that familiar with the genre. It was in English, which I hadn't been expecting, but which was actually fine apart from the occasional cringe-worthy pieces of translation. I did slightly object to having it in English AND with subtitles, though - entirely unnecessary, given that the diction was superb. I found them rather distracting, truth be told, though that was probably partly to do with the fact that they were set at the top of the pros, and we because we were in the cheap seats were looking down, with them effectively between us and the show.

The performance itself was sung very well, and there were some lovely design touches, like the bar scene that Fish blogged about, however there were a lot of things that didn't quite hang together. There were random touches like a couple of girls in flamenco dresses stuck in that bar for no apparent reason. It felt like they'd suddenly remembered it was supposed to be in Spain and wanted to remind us - it felt awkward and director-ish and silly. The other thing that made it a bit frustrating to watch was the sheer lack of energy in the physical performances - there wasn't any electricity between the lead performers. I wanted passion and power and to feel the love and the tragedy and I just didn't. It's possible that that's perennial failure of the genre, but if so it bothers me, especially as this company represents the cream of the talent in this country. I don't know. Maybe we were just too far away - right in the very back row at the top of the theatre. We could hear beautifully, and had full stage view, but it was just a bit far away.

I had Hugh and Lara and Carl round on Sunday to have food and watch a film and stuff. Was fantastic to see everyone, it really was. I felt afterwards that it might actually begin to turn this place into home, if I can have my friends around and make it feel like a location in our lives, then I'll feel less cut off from everyone. I don't know. If I get the job I went for an interview for today (internship at the Gate in Nottinghill - nice, but unpaid...), I won't be moving to Cambridge. I hope I get it, because it's the answer to my job worries, even if I'm going to be very poor by the end of it, but I really would like to be able to go back to my friends in Cambridge if I can.

I went to see some rats today. They're awesome - behave like mini dogs, loving to explore and playing with their humans and everything. I'd love to have some. Parents aren't keen though at the moment. I'm trying to persuade them. My mum's gone so far as to suggest I get a CAT, which she was really against before. Apparently she's said that I could get a cat and lend it to them if I have to live somewhere I cannot have a cat. This would be awesome, though it would make life difficult in other ways. I do live in a flat, for a start. It's odd, because getting a cat would mean I'd have to have a litter tray, which would be smelly to a certain extent, which is currently the worry about rats, as far as I can tell. The thing about rats, pragmatically, is that they only live a couple of years and therefore the commitment is that much less than a cat. I'm not sure what to do now. I'm going to talk to my mum and see what it really is she doesn't like about them. I really don't want gerbils or anything - the rats have personalities and everything in the way that other small animals just haven't. Bah. Decisions. Anyway. It appears that today has been a good day. :-).

Monday, 5 November 2007

There's a book about Morris Minors under the counter.

And I saw someone writing a real letter.

This really is about the extent of today's news.

Actually a reasonable day, for all that. Managed not to get snapped at or to ignore it if I did. And I was in a good mood until just now. Couldn't tell you why it changed. I'm not really used to living on my own again is part of it...I just feel lonely. Meh. I keep dreaming about possibly maybe maybe moving back to Cambridge. There are people (you: please read that properly - I'm not talking about that, I really mean everyone up there whom I go up to talk to; of course there's that person, but they aren't in any way the be all and end all...I could even see you, if we could ever cope with that.) I could see all the time, and I could live in a shared flat again, and frankly while I'm doing what I'm doing, i.e. filling time and writing job applications, why NOT do it in the town where all my friends live? Because of rent, is why, but I'm wondering if that's really a good enough reason. I COULD get better temping than this, even down here, and I could probably get enough up in Cambridge to make it nearly feasible. Would require more effort job hunting wise, but I COULD.

People keep pointing out that if I've left, I should leave, but the amount of time I'm up there, I clearly haven't left. I'm told not to become one of those people hanging on to their student days with all their effort. I don't feel I'm doing that, and frankly I've always liked being around the old Sods, so I'm a bit torn about that, really. I've ALWAYS hated moving house, with an absolute passion. And no matter how many times I've done it, and in the last 5 years alone that's been a hefty number, I don't get any better at dealing with it. I hate the displacement, and I hate the losing people and the not knowing the place and the sense of trying to break into a community that's already formed. I know I KNOW St Albans, but it doesn't know me any more. It's weird the way it's so the same but that absolutely everything in my world has changed.

There are many many reasons why it wouldn't be a clever idea, of which the most pragmatic is money. Currently, I'm going to try and stick this out for a few more weeks and see where I get to. It's only about 7 weeks to Christmas, which is scary in itself. Maybe I'll get that far.

In other news, Nationwide put a stop on my card because of a random fraudulent transaction. Which was good of them, in that I didn't lose any money, but distinctly awkward just the same. I currently have no cash card with any money I can use (I need to shovel some money into my other account or sort out an overdraft on it in case this ever happens again) on it, and this weekend needed to pay an overdue council tax bill (for the last month of residence in Victoria Road when I wasn't a student) and a SoD dinner cheque. Fish paid the latter, and I had to get Andy to pay the former, and I had to borrow some money to see me through until I got paid (in cash) yesterday. That money hasn't been paid in. I was going to go to the supermarket tonight - slightly glad I didn't now because I wouldn't have remembered to pick it up and thus could have had a very embarrassing moment at the till.

Other slight worry re wages: I got paid the full £200 for last week's work. Which is all very nice and all, but I really ought to be missing a fair amount for tax. I also didn't have a payslip. I mentioned this to the manager, Lawrence, today, who told me that we apparently never GET payslips, and to talk to the owner Götz about it. This worries me a little - surely I should get a payslip every time I get paid? It's like a receipt, and you'd always get a receipt for something when you spend that amount of money. Also, it makes me wonder if he's fiddling the tax a bit. If he pays everyone the full £200 every week, and paying the tax properly, we're actually being paid more like £7 an hour, which is nice, but distinctly lots for the work we do. I'd EXPECT us to be paid minimum wage, which is what £200, properly taxed, works out to. I can deal with cash in hand for once in a blue moon, and because it'll all come out in the wash, but I'm going to be slightly worried if it goes on. I haven't asked the other girls, because you don't do that kind of thing, but the envelopes I saw were lacking in coins, which would be necessary to make up random numbers. I haven't filled in the relevant forms yet, which might explain any perceived irregularities, and if I'm not being properly paid by next week I'm not going to have much choice beyond making a fuss. Meh. Might be my excuse to leave...shouldn't leave.

shifts: 6
rejection to interview ratio: 6:1 Gah.

...ditching school staff served. I get the impression it's all going to be the same ones until I happen to work an early Wednesday shift, when they're ALL in during house assembly.

Friday, 2 November 2007


Sheer and completely irrational fury. No, it really isn't about you. Or you. Or that. It's COMPLETELY irrational.





Thursday, 1 November 2007

Found this again. Wrote it AGES ago, and I'd forgotten what was exactly the reason for it, but I've just been going back through stuff, and currently it's my favourite thing I've ever written. I think it was when we were studying sonnets in my first year, but I can't remember beyond that. Not sure it's really any good, but I'm actually quite pleased with it.

I have written myself into the sand
Of a thousand thousand uncaring souls;
But always it seems sea eternal rolls,
Smoothing the ground on which I try to stand,
Till I might find no purchase to hold hand
Or heart outstretching, and make some bell toll -
Which might alert you to the starving role
That here I play, but may not here extend.
So now I return to the drugging sea
To better con my part for future tries;
And here, alone, play out what might have been,
Had you chosen to hold me in your eyes.
Yet I treasure still the sand still in my pen -
Which you do not miss, though will not see again.


The BBC should not rely on spell checkers.

"...The route is lined with restaurants and at every brassiere door I would hear the metallic sound of Edward's solid silver name tag jangling against his Tiffany collar as he turned his head to sniff the kitchen's aroma before trotting on..."

From here, which is entertaining in its own right.

I should be an unfulfilled poet.

I've got all the right experience. It traditionally involves waiting on tables, working behind a bar, or working in a Salon de The, or in this case, Cafe. (I know there should be accents, but I'm tired.) I don't know whether unfulfilled producers gather the same romantic angst, really. I need a brooding coffee shop with walls lined with books. Maybe I should move back to Cambridge and get CB2 to give me a job - it's just the right sort of place.

On my day off, I went to Cambridge to feed Hugh sausage sandwiches. I was beginning to feel like I hadn't spoken to him in ages, which was because I hadn't, and I missed him a lot. He's currently my bastion of sanity, and I'm leaning on him more than usual. He's wonderful, and I love him very much.

I felt very much better after talking to Hugh, but went and bought strawberries, chocolate and a book anyway. These are the things I buy when feeling miserable. I did dip the strawberries in the chocolate, too. This helped enormously. Weird thing - when you've done that, they're SO much more filling. I could easily polish off a whole box of strawberries, or a whole bar of chocolate or even both, if they were separate, but wrap one around the other and leave it to set, so that when you bite into it you get crunchy, creamy chocolate and gorgeous juicy berry, I could only manage about four. It was white chocolate, with a drizzle of milk chocolate over the top, because by the time I got to making them I'd already eaten the rest of the milk chocolate. (Sainsburys own Fairtrade stuff - as my baby brother put it, The Shit. And he ought to know, he's currently getting up at 5am every day to stack the shelves...)

Trestle rejected me without an interview. I was pretty upset by that, because it's a £14k/year job, which is barely more than minimum wage, in my town, whose arts scene I've known well since I was 14, in a building I've known since it was built and have used often. Meh. I wasn't necessarily expecting to GET the job, but I didn't think an interview was too much to hope for. Who else WANTS that job, apart from a graduate wanting to start at the bottom? What experience do graduates HAVE that I don't? I suspect I need to do an internship and stuff, and I'm hoping to hear soon enough about the BAC one or the Gate one, but even if I get one of those (they're as competitive as the jobs, if not more so), am I STILL going to be fighting for the pocket money type roles? It's slightly depressing. What else should I try for, folks? I need a back up plan. And since I'm not going to be so keen on it as I am on theatre, it would be nice if it had better prospects. Theatre, you hit a ceiling pretty damn quick, so if I'm doing something else, I'd like to be able at least to keep climbing. I'm miserable about this.

They let me loose on the espresso machine today. I can make coffee; I'm crap at frothing milk. Ah well. I'll probably learn sometime. I also had a conversation in French with the French girl, who told me my verbs were shit. Which is true. I'm really out of practice. I should go and spend a couple of months there sometime. I don't doubt that I'd learn properly quite quickly, because I've always picked up languages quickly, and French is just something I have an instinct for somehow. It just fades when I don't use it, unsurprisingly.

Shifts worked: 3
Number of teachers served coffee to personally: 2 (Mr McGuinness, who keeps doing double takes when he sees me, but hasn't yet actually recognised me, and Mrs Edwards, who teased me about what I'd come to. I did sit and chat with Mrs Douglas (Miss Wright as was) and Mrs Wright on Tuesday, too.)
Job interview to rejection ratio: 1:5