Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Where I get all obligatory on your asses...

So that was Christmas, and what have I done?

Cooked, baked and eaten LOTS.
My feminist lecturer would have kittens... if she hadn't left her job to get married and have babies.
I've also chained episodes of The Office (the American and, I'm sorry, much superior version) until I had seen everything that Steve Carell and co had to offer. Now I've moved onto Life On Mars, the British version, which I feel is probably better than the American version.
I've spent time with my family and that is still ongoing. Tomorrow we descend upon my extended family for New Year goodness. It's been brilliant spending time at home. Granted, it's not one of the various homes I grew up in, but we've made it a home and it's been absolutely lovely.

This, if you haven't guessed already, is the obligatory 'end of year' blog, which comes after weeks of not posting anything. Aren't I loyal?
But hark, this ain't just any old 'end of year' blog; this is the all singing, all dancing 'END OF DECADE' blog. As Felicity, friend of 13 years, reminded me, in the next decade, "we're turning 30."

Shit. So we are. And what have I done with this one?
A good deal, considering I've gone from 14 to 24, from buying TLC's 'Creep' on cassette tape to downloading Oona's 'Tore My Heart' on iTunes.
From being so, like, TOTALLY in love with Joe Floyd from tutor group to delicately navigating the grey area following the break up of an important relationship.
From wishing I had bigger boobs and better hair and smaller thighs and nicer skin to looking back on old photos of myself and noticing just how great I actually looked.
From having the sole ambition of being a teacher, then an astronaut, then a doctor, then a singer, then an actor, then a social worker, then a paleontologist, then a teacher again to realising that I'd much rather work from home as a writer and spend my evenings shitting my pants while I try to make people laugh.
From deciding that I will never EVER wear dresses and make up and be a girly girl in order to impress boys... to actually quite liking dresses and make up and making myself look nice and realising that girls only ever dress up to impress other girls anyway.

My predictions for the next decade?
I at least hope to have more in my bank account than just enough to cover the following month's rent. I doubt I'll still be living in London. I'm moving there next year and kicking off the decade with a healthy bout of fear, uncertainty and excitement while living in The Big Smoke™, but by 2020 I reckon I'll have moved on... again.
In the meantime, I'll be sticking around for the 2012 Olympics, giggling immaturely at how the logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving head and charging a small but reasonable amount for people to sleep on my floor during the games.
I feel ever so strongly that I'll have a kid by 2020. Not out of any maternal instincts I might have now, but because my Mother will also be a decade older and, despite her protests, will definitely be dropping massive, neon, 'I WANT TO BE A GRANDMOTHER' hints.
Aside from that, lots of writing and keeping fingers in various creative pies, as well as literal pies as I continue my love of baking.
So, in short, by 2020 I expect I'll be a little older (well, more than a little), a little wiser (fingers crossed anyway) and a little wider (pies permitting).

Happy New Year, folks, and can we please come up with a catch-all title for the next decade that's better than the previous one we seem to have settled on?



Thursday, 17 September 2009

Where I become increasingly exasperated with this country...

"Tickets please."

"Can I have a return from Stapleton Road to Weston Super Mare, please?"

"£8.60 please."

"Oh, sorry it was £5.50 yesterday."

"That's after nine o clock. It's still before nine right now."

I need to point out that at the time of this conversation, it was 8.57am.
I was sat in the first carriage of the train which is where the conductor starts his journey from one end of the train to the other, selling and checking tickets.

"So if I was sat further down the train, this ticket would be cheaper?"

"Um... no."

"Will the people you get to in three minutes have a cheaper fare?"


"Do you mind if I move to another carriage?"

Yes, it's a bit passive aggressive. Yes, I was being an irritating customer that this conductor could have probably done without at nine in the morning, but COME ON!
How ridiculous are the train fares in this country? For starters, no two conductors follow the same rules. If I wear some mascara, smile, and speak in a soft voice, I usually get charged the cheapest fare even if I don't show my young person's rail card! If I'm having an off day, full price. Fucking ridiculous!

And besides, how much of a cunt do you need to be to charge full price on one end of the train and off peak rates on the other end just because there are three minutes in it?


Friday, 28 August 2009

Where I say, "YOINK!"...

Nabbed from Ceri

1. He was a
 famous trumpet man from out Chicago way.

2. New boots is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. "My best friend" is kind of a fluid concept. 

4. I would have hated Marilyn Monroe if I had met her in real life, to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be, predictably, very deceiving. 

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my brother because he's poorly sick.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up with someone I haven't seen in a while, tomorrow my plans include picking up some post and going to Clevedon for a pub crawl and Sunday, I want to enjoy my hangover and start cleaning out my wardrobe.

Where it's no longer the 'elephant' in the room...

Last night while having a drink with my Dad we started discussing the merits of Twitter. My Dad is a semi-professional gambler and has developed a computer program to help him determine the outcome of races.
Since discovering Twitter he's been singing its praises, particularly concerning its function as an instant communicator to the masses, something he reckons will be very useful when he starts being followed by pundits.

Anyway, all that aside, we moved onto the political side of Twitter such as helping organise protests.

Perhaps I was nervous because of the presence of his girlfriend, or that my Dad seemed slightly on edge, or maybe it was the pint and a half of Fosters I had just downed, but when I went to say,

 "... and it's like with the latest election in Iran..." 

I ended up saying, 

"... and it's like with the latest erection..."

Now, I thought someone would laugh, but no one did... so that 'erection' just hung awkwardly in the air. 

... You're allowed to smirk.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Where I attempt to be a grown up and fail at the first hurdle...

"Hello government! I'm just trying to sort out my taxes and don't seem to have a unique taxpayer's reference number, could you help?" 
"Miss Rabbit, would that be the unique taxpayer's reference number at the top of each letter we send you?"
*looks* "Oh why yes, so it is. Thank you!" 
"Ok, bye Miss Rabbit." 
"mmkay, bye."

Friday, 14 August 2009

Where I look up and wave...

So The Big Chill was, as you'd expect, quite chilled. Not quite as big or as commercial as Glastonbury (I hadn't heard of any of the music acts) but the comedy was top notch. In fact, The Right Reverend Paul Evans and I were staying in a caravan that was parked no less than twenty feet away from the comedy and circus tent. Faaaaantastic.

I'm supposed to be writing right now, doing some things for Buzz and working on 'ideas'. 
When I say 'ideas' I mean; one-act plays, music, monologues, poems, yah da yah da yah da, but I'm experiencing a bit of a mind fuck. I was ok, bimbling along in an emotionally numbed state, not feeling anything strong towards anything in particular. Then BOOM. One name, one phone call, one conversation and it all comes rushing back, rippling violently from the centre of your solar plexus to the tips of your fingers and toes. You can distance yourself from the things that make you get feelings all over the couch, but that doesn't stop those things from seeking you out.

Anyhoo, I have been considering the scale of the universe lately.
I find it useful when giving far too much time to the more trivial pursuits in life.

(you'll need to click the links to get the full demonstration)

I live in a block of flats. This block is fairly big, and I only take up one room. Not even that as I essentially live behind a couch.  
These flats are situated in Eastville, which is an inner city area in the middle of Bristol, which is in the South West of the United Kingdom. See how little of the UK is taken up by Bristol? 
If you consider my significance in the flats, the city, heck, the country, I don't hold much.

The United Kingdom is a wee island next to Europe, across the Atlantic from the United States of America. Notice how small the UK is in comparison to other land masses? Pretty small.
Now don't forget, I'm in there somewhere, but it's easy to focus on other things when you look at me through a magnifying glass from this far away. It's at this point in my consideration of scale that I began to think that my little problems really weren't that important... like worrying about whether or not someone is talking to me... *shrug*

The UK is on Earth, which is a planet that shares space in our solar system with other such planets as Mercury, Venus, Mars, even Pluto. All of these planets, as you'll notice in the picture, are smaller than Earth. 

So, gee, wow, like, Earth is like, big.
I'm on the face of that big hunk of rock, somewhere...  You know, the other day I was upset because I missed the bus... not that important really.
Let me give you a little difference in perspective.

Other planets in our solar system are Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. Yes, Jupiter is the big fuck off planet that is dwarfing our little green and blue one. 
Oh boy... I'm not even a pixel in this image... wondering what people think of me because I'm living at home isn't at the front of my mind anymore.

Oh, hello Sun, giver of heat, the hottest of hot in our solar system, whatcha doing over there? Oh, you're completely pissing all over Jupiter? Ok. 
And, and hey Earth, where are you, anyway? Taking up that itty bitty bit of space over there... I'm 24 and don't have a career... Doesn't matter when you look at it from this angle.

Here's another picture of the Sun. No... it's not the largest rock in this picture, it's actually the smallest. The largest rock is Arcturus, a big ass star in a constellation called The Plough. You might notice that the text in the picture points out that Jupiter is about one pixel in size and the Earth is invisible. If the Earth is invisible at this scale then me, you, everyone we know and all of our ambitions and problems mean absolutely zilch.

Now, this could be a depressing notion.

... Or it could be a very liberating one. 

I'm choosing to opt for the latter.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Where I'm a theatre nerd/snob...

Being a theatre nerd I'm all too aware that you need to see a decent mix of the good and the bad (and sometimes the downright f'ugly) in order to know what is a good idea... and what is a really very bad idea.

I've been spectator to a handful of performances this week, the best of which was an Edinburgh Preview of a Uni comedy troupe revival in the shape of 'Bristol Revunions'. My expectations going in to see them were really low, thanks to my friend Tom who warned me that he'd heard them rehearsing and thought they sounded like a bunch of 'am dram drama school types'.

But one choral rendition of 'I wanna fuck you' by Akon later and I was putty in their hands.
Other highlights in the hour included a priest who can't stop saying jinx mid service, Nicholas Cage's biggest fans assuring him that despite 'Knowing' they'll stick with him, and Princess Peach and Luigi staging an intervention to get Mario off the mushrooms.

My favourite sketch was a reoccurring one about a morbidly unhappily married couple playing party games on their own on Christmas Day. Among connect four and pass the parcel, they played charades.

Husband does the action for film.
Wife: Film.

Husband does the action for book.
Wife: Book and film.

Husband holds up his index finger.
Wife: One word.

He points to his wedding band.
Wife: Ring.

Husband shakes his head.
Wife: The Ring. The Ring 2. Ringu, the japanese original.
Husband: It's one word.

Husband points to himself, and then to his wife.
Wife: You and me... You, Me and Dupre! 
Husband: It... *sigh* It's one word...

Hasband points to his wedding band again.
Wife: Marriage! Wedding, The Wedding Crashers! Four Weddings and a Funeral!


Husband:... Misery.

The bad theatre came in the form of 'Anomie', a piece of physical theatre by a Bristol-based company called Precarious.
There's a lot of great physical theatre about: DV8, NoFitState, heck, I even managed to bash out some decent stuff when I was studying Bausch.
With physical theatre, or my understanding of it anyway, you take a theme, be that broad or very specific, and explore that theme through dance, motif, comedy, imagery, dialogue, music, mime and any other manner of performance techniques to take the audience through a number of emotions.

Unfortunately what I saw last night had the audience operating at two speeds; bored and needing a wee.

The theme from what I could determine seemed to be how lonely life can be in a big city, or maybe it was voyuerism... I'm not sure.

It started promisingly enough with the six characters performing some interesting movement pieces, each with their own mattress, cumbersome props that were used throughout, but only once to good effect. There was a sequence where a man and woman had a mattress stood up between them and in the mattress at shoulder level was a hole that they used to find each other and flirt and annoy and explore each other.

But that was the only part to make me smile.

The rest of the time I found myself getting annoyed at the poor sound quality and lack of variation in the music. I mean, I like drum and bass as much as the next person, but not for an hour. Plus, if you're trying to convey sadness one minute and happiness the next, try to get some of the other elements at your disposal to enhance that. Maybe it does work in other cases to keep the music consistent throughout but here it really didn't.

The technical aspects did bother me. As I said before, the sound was poor, and for some reason they'd decided to use six huge flat screen televisions to do some interesting live theatre/prerecorded dvd trickery. Thing is, the actors were constantly out of time with the screens, which was just really distracting.
If you're going to use technology it's GOT to be shit hot and it's GOT to have a purpose. This just felt like the company had a budget and wanted to use it.

All I could think all the way through was, "What's the point? What question are you asking? What's the story here?" With a theme too broad and too difficult to pin down the whole production needed something solid to anchor it all. Or hell, just some extraordinary physical skill to distract and wow people with.

At some point a long hour was over and I was banging my hands together in a somewhat hostile fashion while the cast were cajoling an equally hostile stage crew on to accept some applause. 

So, something that far exceeded my expectations, and something that barely met them.

Hopefully the next weekend at The Big Chill will provide something completely different.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Where I totally do not give away spoilers but comment on tiny, insignificant moments in the film.

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince.

May I say that it's my favourite film of the bunch?
God bless David Yates, he does make a cracking film.

None of the HP films have met my expectations yet but this one came the closest. 
And hey! It only took six films but Daniel Radcliffe can finally act! Granted, he's acting like David Tennant but he's getting rather good. Nice comic timing, Sir.

Another thing I noticed... possibly the most homoerotic film of the bunch.
If it weren't for Ginny and Hermione it'd be a veritable slash-fest.
If you've already seen it you might have been giggling immaturely just as much as I was when Snape scolded Malfoy for not being able to conceal himself and that he was going to need some assistance... quite.

I particularly liked a moment (completely un-slash related) where Dumbledore told Harry he needed a shave.
"Really?", quothe the audience, "Because we've been watching this in HD for two hours and he's as smooth as a baby's behind."
This was followed by Dumbledore remarking on how different Harry looks now compared to how he looked when they met that fateful night at The Dursley's.

Harry responded wistfully, "You still look the same, Professor. "

"...Really?!" quothe the audience once more, choking on their popcorn, "Because he looked a lot like Richard Harris a couple of years ago.

My favourite scene had to be the one where Harry and Dumbledore enter the post-global warming Fortress of Solitude, and our trusty teacher becomes both a Jedi and Moses in the space of five minutes. 
Not quite how I pictured that scene when reading the books but a pleasant surprise all the same.

Anyway, that ends a slightly tipsy blog.
Still no mention of the comedy from last night, I know.
But it's coming, honest.

(That's what she said. Heyooooooh!)

And goodnight.

Where I don't have a pen and can't write on my hand...

Must blog about comedy from last night, later TOnight, when I get back in from the movies.

Must blog about comedy from last night, later TOnight, when I get back in from the movies.

Must blog about comedy from last night, later TOnight, when I get back in from the movies.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Where that's all very nice, but now what's on the other station?

Marcus Brigstocke is not a very funny comedian, but he is a great, funny, passionate speaker. 

Last Friday he had yet another angry, seething, hilarious rant on The Now Show on Radio Four (a regular in my download list).
If you want to listen to it, and I highly recommend you do, you can find it here (complete with chuckle-worthy images to correspond with said rant).

Brilliant, right?
And how great is it that there are people out there, like him, who are angry enough and intelligent enough to make their voices heard. 
While last week's rant isn't a brilliant example of his attempts to strike up revolt in the proletariat, you get a good idea of how he is the kind of person who tries to show people that other options are available, that they don't have to grab their ankles and take what is dished out to them by the banks/government/train services/inland revenue/other public-fucking body while sighing "oh, there's not point in trying." 

But... yea, but...  the majority of people just just gonna carry on as they are, aren't they?
Despite the warnings, lots of people took out loans they couldn't pay back. They opened up store cards despite the fact that they are a blatant con. They fed their children fish and chips through the school gates. They voted for the BNP for a few games of bingo and handouts. They just kept paying for the train fares that steeped higher and higher and..

I used to work at The Glee Club in Cardiff. Great job. I got to watch all the free comedy I wanted by the best stand ups in the world while doing a maximum of four hours work in a night. Win.
One night, Marcus Brigstocke passed through on his national tour and I made sure I had the night off work so that I could watch him like a regular person. 
He wasn't that funny... He's great in a Radio Four studio and at The Apollo, sure, but Cardiff weren't really going for it (even though they paid £17 specifically to go see him in the first place).
He did his ranty poster-boy for the environment thing very well, but there was one bit of audience interaction which illustrated quite vividly how people will nod and smile but the information doesn't necessarily go in.

Marcus had been singing the praises of energy saving light bulbs.
He had statistics, figures, anecdotes, examples. It was very impressive and everyone in the room, even the people who weren't that impressed with him in the flesh, we're coming round to his way of thinking. Then he asked a woman in the front row a direct question.

"Madam, will you buy energy saving bulbs?"

"Umm... no."

Brigstocke looks momentarily stunned.

"Why? You could help prevent global warming."

"Yea but the regular ones are really cheap down co-op."

He visibly despaired. He very nearly collapsed to the stage floor in exasperation. 
How, HOW when the facts and consequences are staring you in the face, when you have paid £17, no less, to have someone you admire TELL you that there is such a simple thing you could do to help make your future a bit better, do you figure that the cheaper energy sucking ones will be better? So you can put that extra 50p towards paying off your store card?
Just that little extra effort could make all the difference. If EVERYONE bought energy bloody saving bulbs and turned lights off when they left rooms, we'd all reap the benefits.


Shout all you want Mr. Brigstocke, and we love you for doing it, but more often than not it falls on... not so much deaf ears, but ears that are attached to apathetic bodies.

Now pardon me while I don't sort my recycling, but, ugh, there's no special recycling bin in this building and I can't be arsed to go find one.


I bloody love The Specials.

What happened to that sound? I know I wasn't there the first time around but seeing them at Glastonbury, listening to them with my Dad, recognising their songs being used in various film soundtracks, just makes me wonder why this kind of music didn't gather more moss.

(I know, slight mix of genres there but I know you understand what it is I'm getting at)

I think what I love most about the rude boys is that they, and their music, were born out of a time that's similar to now in terms of the economy and unemployment. It was a time to get creative because there were few other options. Look at Red Dwarf. Fuck all money, highly creative and successful.

That's why I'm feeling so good about the next few years. I'm skint and so is everyone around me so it looks like there's no better time to go for the things that, in the times of fat cats, would be made much harder.

There wasn't much point to this post. Just reminding myself to take advantage of the times and get creative.

Thank you, The Specials.
Go on, Terry, give us a smile ;-)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Where I get poetic...

Here is a poem,  
One what I writ, 
Tis not full length, 
But merely a bit, 
Of a true masterpiece, 
Well, had I put in the time, 
But I needed a wee, 
So it ends on this line.

Where I would like...

... one of these, please.

Where this time, baby, I'll be bullet proof.

Whew boy. 
This morning was tough.

I went to band rehearsals and waited for everyone to arrive, and when they did I very shakily told them that I was leaving. 

I feel very sad, but really good at the same time.
I left in a bit of a hurry, I didn't want to wait around and felt like I was going to vomit, but since I've had some really lovely messages from various members of the band saying that I'll be missed.

I'll be gutted when I see who the new singer is and I know I'll immediately regret my decision. I know myself far too well and know that that is a certainty.

But it's a very good thing.
I'm free of Cardiff and free of the people who have been putting me down, in front of me and behind my back.

I'm still here, it's not ended me, I've just got a thicker skin for it all.

Now I'll carry on performing, do a job I love, go to Glastonbury again (possibly with my brother this time), make new friends, embark on new and exciting relationships, write, apply for an MA, get another great degree, live my life for me, move to another city and finally hang up my 'Home Sweet Home' sign that I was saving for a home I could call my own.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Where I start afresh...

So I survey my blog, post-cull of previous entries, and feel good.

"It's all happening."

Everything that follows is a paraphrased x-posting to another old blog.

So what exactly has prompted me to revisit my old blogs and clean up this one of any angst?
That would be a long series of events that was punctuated by my cousin, Whisper Elmwood, leaving me with a big pile of green post-its with website and blog recommendations all over them. 
Said recommendations included the Raving Atheists Forum, some rant blogs, and some science-based, religion-debunking sites.

So, here I am.
'Here' being Bristol and living with Mother Rabbit again. You see, the long series of events mentioned above have led me here. Some of them unfortunate, but not nearly as fun to read about as those unfortunate events in the Lemony Snicket books. 

Tough, I'm going to chronicle them anyway. Mwah ha!

Well, I'm in Bristol because I've left Cardiff behind and have decided to once and for all to put a full stop on that time of my life. It was a good five year period, perhaps one year too long because I had a bit of trouble letting go of the life I had made there. I had good friends, a boyfriend, a band, a good degree, but all of that (bar the degree) had been somewhat soured by the fact that I ended my two-year relationship with the boyfriend. The break up was far too messy and drawn out, times with the band (that I shared with the boyfriend) became strained, and friends chose sides despite protests of being neutral. 

The plan is to end up in London, or perhaps even abroad, to do an MA in one my specialist areas. 
I think to go back to Cardiff would be a step back. The city was a security blanket for me for a while but it is very much time to move on and get that 'ooh it's scary but exciting' feeling about another place in the world again.

The past week has been spent up in Scotland with my clan (hence the abundance of post-its from Whisper. We all made the journey north because Herself, our Nanna, passed away on July 14th from Uterine Cancer, which was in very late stages and had spread to her lungs.
She passed away happily and in the company of her children and husband.

The funeral was wonderful. 
It wasn't so much a funeral as a celebration of how wonderful and wicked a woman she was.
The coffin was covered in beautiful, colourful flowers. No wreaths. The coffin could be barely seen for all the plant life. 
Everyone was dressed in bright colours, at Nanna's request. She also requested that no one cry, but there was some trouble in upholding that appeal, as was clearly evidenced when we all laughed and cried our way through "All Things Bright And Beautiful' in equal measure. 
The hymn, we think, was Nanna's last punch line.
She was a staunch atheist with a wicked sense of humour, and to have us sing about the lord's ability to create bright and beautiful things in a bewildered and tone-deaf fashion was a great final gag.

It was very surreal not seeing my Nanna there. There was my Poppa, there was the house, but no Nanna. Very strange.
We all, branch by branch, made our way up to the house in Torrance and rallied around Poppa, keeping him fed and watered and laughing. I spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking up things or making cups o' brew. It was a good way to escape the sheer number of relatives who had descended. It was a little much from time to time. 
We were able to leaf through Nanna's life, in a way, by looking through old photo albums, scribblings, song books, collections of 'things'. Nanna was quite the hoarder. 

She and Poppa were these gorgeous, handsome, slim young things with a laid back glamour that accompanies the black and white evidence of our grandparent's youth. Nanna tanned at the drop of a hat, it seems.

We found a list of directions for life, under the title of 'My Basic Rights as a Free Person' that she had written.

1. To state my own needs and to set my own priorities independent of any role I have in life.

2. To be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being.

3. To express my feelings.

4. To express my opinions and values without ridicule of belittlement from others.

5. To say yes or no for myself and to be believed instantly.

6. To make mistakes.

7. To change my mind.

8. To say when I do not understand.

9. To ask for what it is I want.

10. To refuse to be responsible for other people's problems.

11. To deal with others without being dependent on them for approval.

These are some basic principles that, to the best of our knowledge and from what we knew of her, she stuck to.
When reading through them I had a bit of an epiphany, which cemented the decision to end my life in Cardiff. For some time now I have been chastised me for the mistakes I had made and the times I had changed my mind. I am allowed to do these things. I'm sorry if anyone was affected by these instances more than I expected people to, but I think in those cases those people needed to refer to their right of numbers 10 and 11 and to my right of number 4 on the list.

I'm often led to solving problems in my mind now by pondering how Nanna might have dealt with the same situation. With dignity, and not a moment spent suffering fools.

Ah, Micky, I'll miss you but you're in no way gone.
Your love of music, your sense of humour, your green fingers, your dry wit, your mothering nature, your initiative and ingenuity and sense of adventure lives on in the rest of your family.

Can't wait to see you again, no doubt placing whoopie cushions under people in the great beyond x