Saturday, 29 January 2011

'Delectable Creatures'

by Jo Shapcott

You won't remember, but it was
October and the street trees
still coloured like rude bouquets.
I had some rare walks by the river,
the weak sun loose on the water
and the light so washed out and lovely
it would make you cry if you weren't
completely alert. Every step I took
they were uncovering something: people
sleeping under cardboard, a lost riverboat
marooned on a freak low tide, the buried flotsam
which made metal detectors buzz, theatres
with resonant names: The Rose, The Globe.

And I was carrying a torch for someone
to the point of hallucination:
we rolled in flames through seven fields, the burning
so thorough I longed to be shocked by water,
a faceful of anything, even the smelly Thames.

And I remember the press full of doctors,
of inventions: a herringbone fragment
of DNA to fool a virus, a wisp
of vitamin to lock onto inner decay
and knock it dead for good. We were
saving vouchers, too, for air miles.

There was, O yes, the morning I woke up
to see an open book, drying on the drainer.
Dimly reconstructing the night before
I remembered dropping off, head on the desk,
getting up moments later, to select the book
with extra exquisite care from any old shelf.
I slowly chose a page, spread it with jam
and butter, and tried to stuff it down my mouth.
It was, of course, Freud's 'Jokes and the Unconscious'.
I must have tried to stack it like a tea plate,
stacked it, then put myself into my bed.

I think the explanation could be this:
that in the light, the river was sometimes pink,
and St Paul's was pink, and even Lloyd's
in the distance was pink, as I crossed Waterloo Bridge
with a purchase under my arm, some piece
of frou frou or novel to bring me back
from the seven fields, back to the river mist
which must once have been river water, back
to breathing mist so deeply I  could feel
each droplet hit my diaphragm like shot.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Flares are back! And I couldn't be more excited.

I think they give such a glamorous silhouette.

Unfortunately, they only really work on tall people, so they're probably not an item I'll be adding to my wardrobe. Sad times for us all.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Today I'm going to write about categories. This is something that I've been thinking about for a while. This is one of those 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' type of things. When a woman meets a man, she'll size him up fairly immediately into a category: friend or boyfriend/fuck material. With guys, however, these categories are fairly fluid. Guys will meet a girl, probably immediately decide whether she's fuck material or not - and then that won't have any bearing on whether they become friends or not.

Having spoken to my guy friends about this, they admit quite readily that most of their girl friends they would happily fuck, although admit that it would probably change their friendship irreversibly. But if a drunken opportunity came up, as one friend put it, he's unlikely to 'be too adamant' about protecting their friendship.

Once I have a guy as a friend - once he's in that category - he's unlikely to step out of the category. Those of my friends who I would make an exception for are the ones who I've got history with already, or those who aren't that close friends. Or just the ones who are so damn hot I literally don't care how friendly we are - and in a drunken situation, when I have less control and less conscience about my desire to keep our friendship afloat without any awkwardness, I probably would. Whoops.

I think with guys, the categories are permeable: once you're in a category, you can easily shimmy through to the other category. Once a guy is my friend, however, he's unlikely to be someone I'd consider sleeping with. Not if he was a friend worth keeping.

Which is a reason why I never quite trust my guy friends. It's frustrating, but you don't want to find that you've been 'leading on' a friend, when in all actuality, it has never crossed your mind that he would be interested in you. I can think of a few guys who I am certain do not think of me in that way, and when I'm around them I relax. But it's dangerous territory.

And it's a shame.

It feels like a betrayal if a friend turns around and tells you he likes you. It suddenly changes all of the boundaries between you, introduces a terrible sexual tension and an awkwardness as you start to judge your every move in the light of, 'Will he think I'm flirting if I do this?' Last year, I lost a friend because of this, which still makes me really sad. When I didn't feel the same way, it was just too awkward and he was too wounded for our friendship to recover.

So now I'm more careful.

I make my own categories, but I try to be conscious of guys' categories (or lack thereof). I try not to be too unguarded when making new guy friends, in case they misconstrue my actions.

Or, at least, now that's what I try to do. Consider it a new year's resolution.

From here on in, I will try not to trust my guy friends too much.

Does that sound cynical?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Wyf of Bathe

We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye,
In this matere a queynte fantasye:
Wayte what thyng we may nat lightly have,
Therafter wol we crie al day and crave.

Oh Chaucer, I couldn't have put it better myself.


That aside, I like that the Wyf of Bathe's prologue is all about sex and misogamy and advice to women. It's like Cosmo for the High Medieval Ages.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I reassure myself by thinking that everything changes.

It's weird to think how you were, a year ago, and how different everything all is now. And the things that have happened to you in the interim, the people you've met, the places you've been, the fun and the heartbreak that you've had and all of the other littler emotions in between.

There's a guy who I've known for a long time, probably since I was about nine or ten. And a little while ago, we got together, in a very once-off, casual kind of way. But it's bizarre to think that that nine year-old would never, in a million years, have dreamt that one day she'd be holding this man. (I mean, I guess that's not the kind of thing that a nine year-old thinks anyway, but you know what I mean). And the fact that he's now a man. It sounds silly; an obvious truism. But the way that things can change in a year! The way that we can look at people who we've known for years in a completely different light. Isn't that strange? Isn't it funny?
The way one person changes, all the shifts and minuscule transformations that one person will go through in order to turn them into an adult. The person you are now is impossibly different from the person you were when you were a kid. Barely a relation between the two at all.

So I draw comfort from this fact.

I look forward, just remember that next year, everything will all be different.
Google's doodle for today is a Cézanne painting. I love Cézanne - I'll always remember reading (I think it was in A Moveable Feast?) that Hemingway used to go to the Musée d'Orsay to look at the Cézanne while he was chewing over the idea for a new story, or if he had writer's block.

I had some ideas just before I went to sleep last night. I'll get on them a bit later, I think.

This is me. Woman with a coffeepot.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Oh yeah, and this --

The Apples - Number Two

 I think a woman's body is literally one of the most beautiful and magnetising things on this earth.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

possibly the sexiest man in the world? discussed earlier this evening.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the Woody Allen film, contains the impossible combination of Scarlet Johansson (overflowing, curvy, gorgeousness), Penelope Cruz (sharp, smouldering, spitfire) and Javier. has ever a film been created with more beautiful people?


Can't stop listening to this.

At the moment I'm learning part iv of Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal. This is what I've got up to:

September has come, and I wake
 And I think with joy how whatever, now or in future,
   the system
Nothing whatever can take
  The people away, there will always be people
For friends or for lovers though perhaps
  The conditions of love will be changed and its vices
And affection not lapse
   To narrow possessiveness, jealousy founded on vanity.
September has come, it is hers
  Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
  Trees without leaves and a fire in the fire-place;
So I give her this month and the next
   Though the whole of my year should be hers who has
      rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
   But so many more so happy;
Who has left a scent on my life and left my walls
   Dancing over and over with her shadow,
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
   And all of London littered with remembered kisses.
So I am glad
  That life contains her with her moods and moments
More shifting and more transient than I had
  Yet thought of as being integral to beauty; ...

I first came across this poem last term in a seminar and immediately asked for the whole collection for Christmas. It hasn't left my bag since I got it for a new year's present.

This is a horribly soppy post, isn't it?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Right now, sitting at my desk, I can hear people outside on the pavement, talking and laughing in a group of friends. I've always found it bizarre to think that these voices that I'm hearing now belong to a person with their own huge universe, their own friends and family and thoughts and emotions and memories, their life a huge map of where they've been and where they're going. and the likelihood is that I'll never know them, or even feature in a snapshot of their life.

do you read PostSecret?  you should. it's updated every Sunday and shows secrets from anyone, or someone. there's always a secret that you could say is your secret too. it's a really uniting concept because it shows that everyone, really, is the same: we all have the same secret desires, pet hates, anxieties, the same love of flowers or the same need to reconnect with people you once knew. I save the ones I like and use them as desktop backgrounds or in my screensaver. This is an old one that popped up on my computer just now.

when I first saw this secret, I thought, that's really sad - how could you have sex with someone you wouldn't also be able to hold hands with? what sort of a woman is this that she'll allow men to sleep with her, knowing full well that the affection stops there? has she no dignity?

but then - what does dignity have to do with it? dignity is a dated concept, and it doesn't really seem to apply any more. anything goes. I fully believe that women are caught in a catch-22 whereby they can't sleep around without being labelled slags, but also have to avoid the other extreme: being called frigid. dignity is not a part of this equation. how on earth do you preserve it, when anything goes and so no boundaries have been set?  I'd always want to like and know the person I'm sleeping with. but I wouldn't have to be in a relationship with him, because, let's face it, no strings attached sex can be hot.

I'm a sceptic about men's motives. I always assume that they're only thinking about one thing, that they probably are using you for sex (even if they're kidding themselves that they're not), and that they're always imagining you naked. they can be forgiven for the last one. being naked is probably the best state to be in and they have my full support on that point. 

I don't really know what I'm aiming at here. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sex has superseded some of the littler, sweet things in life like having your hand held. we need to try and keep that.

someone once said, 'sex without smiling is as sickly and base as a gin and tonic without ice'. hear, hear.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

if your toothbrushes are touching, does that mean you've basically kissed?

that's cute. me and my housemate are pretty close.

hey, listen to this song:

it makes me think of summer, and the Edinburgh Festival, and being awake at seven in the morning having just come back to the flat on that last morning in the city in August, absolutely wasted, exhausted and so sad it was all over. I sat in front of a desk and wrote, watching the sun come up over the Edinburgh rooftops, with one of my favourite boys next to me playing this song off a laptop. I'm almost certain we cried. emotional alcoholics.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

so apparently I have a need for post-rationalisation of my life. I already keep a diary. I guess this is just one other way of doing that.

hey everyone. x