Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The road ran downhill into Spain

 Back in London. It feels like coming home. And back in Sussex - and at this time of year, when it's cold enough that there's almost a frost, but warm enough for you to keep the front door open to let the brisk and fresh November air come honestly into the house, it feels like Bloomsbury, like the film Sylvia. I want to go to Monk's House, but I don't have the car. I want to walk along the Downs, to read Woolf, I want to paint in the garden. (I can't paint).

The Christmas market is being set up on London's Southbank. When I'm working there in December, I'll go there to get mulled wine after work and listen to the buskers.

It is the Southbank Jazz Festival this week. I went into Royal Festival Hall, listened to some conceptual European jazz, including a French woman leaning on the piano with her elbows while a Japanese woman went nuts on a drum kit. There was a photography exhibition on at the same time, based on news photos of the past year. There was one particularly arresting picture of a man being gored at a bullfight in Madrid. The bull was white, and had blood running all down its legs, and one of the bull's horns was hidden under the swirling serge of his cape, and the other horn was going right through the man's chin and out through his mouth. But apart from the blood on the bull's chest and legs (and you couldn't understand where that came from, although you looked for the wound), it wasn't gory at all. The toredor looked in pain, yes, but his eyes were tightly shut as if he was on a rollercoaster, not as if he had a horn gored through his face. The horn came peacefully out of his mouth as if it were meant to be there, his lips wrapped around the horn as though it had the perfect dimensions to fit into his mouth. That man was back in the ring only four months after the goring.
I want to see a bullfight before they are banned. I don't know if I would have the stomach for it, but I want to see one.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

'You don't like me as much as I like you'.

'I guess I've only just realised that you don't like me as much as I like you'.

You know you're an English student when you shudder and think, Oh lord, don't use the comparative. It's brutal.

In the meantime,

This is my new guilty pleasure.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pleasure implies hunger, but hunger implies hope

Once you haven't written for a while, it's harder to start up again.

So I did Edinburgh - and how! - and then I did Europe. Berlin > Prague > Vienna > Venice > Milan > Barcelona > Zaragoza > Pamplona > Paris. I have never had more fun in my life. I have never met so many people in one summer, I have never felt so independent or powerful, I have never been so stingy with money, I have never been on such long train journeys, I have never eaten so much Pan di Stelle in one sitting or bought salmon paste in a toothpaste tube.

I miss both Edinburgh, and interrailing. But I'm going back to Berlin soon. One of the things I realised was how mobile I am. It seems silly not to have been aware of this to the same extent before. But I met so many Americans and Australians (so many Australians) who would say enviously, 'But you're in Europe! You can just hop across the Channel and go anywhere!' And I'd never thought of it like that. So now I intend to spend money, not on going out, on Vodka Revs on a Sunday night, or on new clothes, but on travelling. So one of the first things I did when I got back to York and earned some more money was spend it on cheap flights to Berlin. Damn it, I'm going to see the world.

I miss meeting new people every day. Forming friendships that quickly, because you had to, because you were only in the city for a night. The generosity of strangers.

I think it's that time of year again - we're back to Autumn, and the streets are wet in the mornings, and the sky is white all of the time, and you can see your breath, and the tip of your cigarette burns the same colour as the leaves. So it's back to Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal, and a Hemingway biography and I don't have time to read as much as I would like, but I recently spent a small fortune on books and can't wait for the time to indulge in a big pile of them.

 'When we are out of love, how were we ever in it?'

'So on this busy morning I hope, my dear,
That you are also busy
With another vintage of another year;
I wish you luck and thank you for the party -
A good party though at the end my thirst
Was worse than at the beginning
But never to have drunk no doubt would be the worst;
Pain, they say, is always twin to pleasure'.

And Halloween has come and gone, as well. My favourite holiday of the year and I didn't really do anything because of rehearsals and being tired. I wanted to carve pumpkins, to make jelly and cakes and a Halloween punch, to make sugar skulls and a pinata, to put candles everywhere to light the dead back to earth.
We had trick-or-treaters, as well. I have never gone trick-or-treating, or seen trick-or-treaters in my life, having always lived in the middle of the countryside where the nearest person is really far away and anyway, everyone is just too conservative Conservative, and it's just not the done thing.

It was freaking awesome.