Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Plurk it up

Better late than never (having been away on a round trip to see the rents), I have finally stolen a few minutes to commit to memory a marvellous weekend with the Plurkers. Barely days after the original meet-up, we decided to plan another one and this time we managed to convene quite a few new faces.

I met up with Johan and Oli in the early afternoon (note to self: Johan cannot navigate the Underground unattended) before heading off to see The Dark Knight with Tim and Yaz, which turned out to be an exquisite piece of movie-making and left every single one of us speechless until the credits had rolled, the lights had gone up and a clever wit of an usher had sauntered past smugly with his face made up like the Joker's.

We then headed to Leicester Square to meet the rest of the gang, including Ten and Dakota, who I've been looking forward to meeting for ages because both of them completely crack me up, Vint, who may have to deal with me stealing her entire wardrobe, and Danillion, who is quite the cuddliest person imaginable. And, of course, the always wonderful Loaf.

As Dakota said on her blog, it wasn't long before we were all chatting like we'd known each other forever - which is hardly surprising, what with the Plurking incessantly all day and night.

After a burger and an awful lot of beer, it was back to Loaf's for some absinthe (I very kindly imposed myself on his hospitality, the poor man puts up with an awful lot from me and does it ever so graciously) and sleep - which latter indulgence we finally got round to at about 5am.

I felt grotty until Monday evening, but oh goodness me was it worth it! There were plenty of pictures taken, so you can view my shame by clicking here, here and here.

Now all that remains is to plan the next one...

Friday, 25 July 2008

Culture Vulture

Does your life go through moods? I've noticed recently that I can pick any memory at random and attach a state of mind to it, one that describes a period of my life instantly.

At the moment, my overall mood is one of hope, happiness and new beginnings, and it's a wonderful, if unusual, feeling. I don't recall feeling this enthusiastic about life for at least a decade - since I was at university and making trouble with Best Mate, by my reckoning. The last memory I have of feeling this positive involves dancing with her in our favourite club, both smiling, radiant and young.

That mood is back. I'm discovering interests I didn't realise I had, finding new confidence in who I am and who I'm becoming, taking enjoyment from every single day and feeling more zest and hunger for life than I ever have before.

I'm appreciating every experience, right down to the little things. As I walked through Leicester Square to meet Lorna this evening, I realised I was smiling to see the crowds, enjoying being a part of the buzz rather than dodging the pesky tourists with a scowl and a rise in blood pressure. On the train I was jubilant, drinking in the sunshine and the scenery rather than angrily looking at my watch.

When I'm asked if I like, want, can do or am interested in something, these days I find myself saying yes with hardly a second thought, consumed by an eager willingness to expand my horizons.

Tonight we went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Awards and, though I've never before felt any particular hunger to immerse myself in art, I found myself mesmerised by the paintings and loving every moment. The two here were my favourites from a mind-blowing collection.

We had drinks in the pub afterwards and I had to be incredibly strict with my time-keeping to make sure I got a good night's sleep, so much was I enjoying the conversation. Especially the part where we made plans to go on a flying tour of the US for my 30th birthday - 5 days shopping and hitting the trendy bars in NYC, a few days star-spotting in LA and then driving down to Las Vegas to let Vici show us a good time, something I've been promising to do all year. There are no words for my excitement levels.

Perhaps it's because I've just written a chapter of the book I've been commissioned called 'The Value of Now'. Perhaps it's because I'm liking the sunshine for once. Some of you have a very good idea what the other likely reason is. But, whatever the explanation, I can't seem to cram my days full enough of interesting experiences and I would willingly exist on this high for the rest of my days.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

My own mistress

Working from home is everyone's dream, right? Mine included - it always has been - so when I was commissioned to write this book, I almost wet myself in anticipation of a couple of months meandering about the house, tapping the occasional piece of genius into the keyboard.

It has not, thus far, turned out to be quite so idyllic as I always expected. A number of things have happened:

1) I have completely lost the ability to turn myself out of bed before 9.30am and, when I DO manage to get up at that dawn-cracking time, I feel like I haven't slept a wink. Hooded eyes, constant yawns, the whole shebang. If I allow myself to sleep 'naturally', on the other hand, you're not likely to see me before 1pm for absolutely no reason.

2) I have developed an insane compulsion to constantly check Plurk for new updates and share absolutely everything in my head with the poor souls on my contact list. I have typed considerably more words into that little window than the Word one.

3) I procrastinate to the extent that I very seldom manage more than 50 words an hour. Plus the requisite research, of course, but that's by the by.

4) I get randomly lonely, crave human company and begin to panic if I don't manage to get out of the house at least once a day. Which means I'm going out an awful lot more than usual... mostly to the cinema, as previously discussed at length.

But I really shouldn't complain - I get to lounge around in silly trousers all day with unbrushed hair and The Deftones (or MGMT these days, thanks to that pesky Lorna) at intolerably loud volumes (when Jeremy Kyle isn't on). I can keep my own times (though that's not actually a good idea) and have breaks when I want them, what's not to love?

p.s. Please excuse the usual flimsily linked title chosen for purposes of showing off this fabulous picture of me made by the delectable Kitty.

p.p.s. Here is the song that I cannot get enough of - curse you Lorna!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

I'm in lust...

...with the cinema. Having just come home from my third movie outing in (count 'em) eight days, this time with the lovely Loaf, it occurred to me I have something of an addiction to the cinema. Which doesn't actually surprise me - the only bit I found shocking was that I let it lie dormant for a long time and didn't often indulge - perhaps I just forgot how deep the feeling goes.

Those brave souls who have ventured to the talkies with me more than once understand I have a tendency to immediately declare when the credits roll that I've just watched the best thing in absolutely ever. Said opinion generally tones down gradually over the next hour, as the movie high wears off (except with this one, Wanted, which I have now seen twice and is totally my crack - it's movie porn, I love it), but for those first few minutes I'm high as a kite and thrilled to be alive.

It's the experience of the cinema itself that I adore. Every over-loud bang of the door, every exaggerated fall of a foot, every echoing shot of a gun sends adrenalin screaming through me. A stunning effect, a gorgeous scene, an incredible piece of acting: every perfect moment takes my breath away.

There's another reason I'm so easy to please. My life has always been about stories - reading them, writing them, watching them, playing them - and there's nothing I enjoy more than having the opportunity to utterly lose myself in one. I crave new stories, it's why I'm such an avid reader and my bedroom walls are almost literally made of books. And the cinema is the pinnacle of that feeling, the loudest, largest, most in-your-face example of storytelling there is.

My capacity to believe is so strong as to be almost childlike - and wilfully so. I think of it as a gift, one that allows me to completely enter the moment and become a part of it. A movie, for me, is an emotional rollercoaster.

So I seldom notice the flaws, at least not at the time. Things might dawn on me a little later, but not while I still have a foot in fantasy land. It takes a powerfully bad movie to prevent me from slipping into that trance and getting lost in the story - there have been a few, but I can usually find some enjoyment in what I'm watching.

Have I been profound enough to justify a third trip to see Wanted yet?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Many Many Wrong Feelings

I have a new celebrity crush, I can't help myself. I was feeling slightly wrong about it all the way through Prince Caspian this evening, because his character is about 12, but fortunately I have returned home to discover that Ben Barnes is 28 and therefore well above the level of sugar mommydom.

And may I take this opportunity to say: oh what a beautiful man. I can haz one pleez? I also really do think it ought to be obligatory for attractive men to wear suits of armour from time to time. Preferably in my presence.

I don't think Tim was too impressed with the movie, but then there's just no hope for someone who doesn't see the merit in a movie starring Eddie Izzard as a defiant mouse, is there?

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Worse than ever...

I admit, this time, to being ashamed of myself. Apparently I've been doing so much virtual shopping recently that my inventory is in its worst ever state, now taking up six - count 'em - full windows when opened out.

And that's just the sorting folder. Which includes subfolders such as 'New', 'Current favourites' and 'Newest'. Which smacks of panic, with hindsight.

I think we all know what I'll be doing for the next year or so. Yep, that's right: making it worse. Because, as you can quite clearly see from this evidence captured by Willowzee, having all these items has turned me into a super-fashionable clothes-wearing machine. If you don't like it, well, that just proves you're not nearly as fashionable as I am, doesn't it?

Saturday, 12 July 2008


I came across Cillian Murphy on Regent Street yesterday and have realised that, despite the earlier fuss I made, he actually doesn't look a bit like Tim. My bad.

I was on Regent Street, in case you are interested, having just had a meeting with the people who would like me to pen a book for them - which enterprise seems to be coming along nicely - and, before that, to get a haircut.

I fear haircuts. So much so that I have had only 4 this decade, and the first was an unmitigated disaster of epic shortness and chunks instead of layers that made me burst into tears. I left it so long this time, however, because I have placed my trust in a stylist at Hob Salon on Baker Street, who did such a stonking job of shearing me last time that I have since refused to go anywhere else.

Which is all very well, but the pleasure of her magic hands costs £65 a pop, so once again it's been far too long. But I am thrilled to pieces with the result, it feels much lighter and I can now do that swooshy thing they do on adverts as I walk down the street.

Which is precisely what I was up to when Mr Murphy wandered past. He's shorter than I expected and didn't look very happy.

The picture of my swanky new hair came about thanks to a cunning plan to make sure I have visual evidence of what was done to it, so that next time I face Selina she won't throw up her hands in despair and tell me I've left it so long she has no idea what she did last time. Spacker that I am, I was only able to mutter something like: "Uhhhh...spiky bits". It is also for Best Mate, who is my style guru and very knowledgable about these things.

Once I reached the other end of Regent Street - stopping halfway to pick up a new hair clip that I will now place in the box with all my other hair adornments and forget about completely - I met the always wonderful Lorna and Yaz and headed for the nearest cinema to see Wanted. At which point, I might add, it rained on me and ruined my hair completely.

I won't comment on the movie itself, as I have plans to set up a movie review blog to bore you all with. The cinema, however, was a whole different kettle of cuttlefish. Two bored cashiers nearly made us late by processing the hundred metres of cinemagoers as slowly as they possibly could ("Luckily, there's not a queue," said Lorna) and then nobody told us there was another kiosk partway up the four - count 'em - escalators to our screen ("Luckily, we aren't running late," said Lorna) so we waited for a ridiculous amount of time to buy our popcorn ("Luckily, there's no queue here either," said Lorna) only to find it was £2.40 for a bottle of water. £2.40! For water! Made of what, putrified yak sweat? I really did love the movie though. And the girly time, that was marvellous. And James McAvoy, that was simply divine.

p.s. You have not quite completed your Willow reading for the day until you have nipped over to Kitty's blog by clicking here.

Everyone else is doing it...

So I shall too. I lost the version that had 'Kitty' right next to 'buggery', sadly - that's what you get for faffing with buttons.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Kitty has taken up a new hobby. This would not normally cause me bodily harm, but in this particular case, I am sorry to report that she very rudely put her own amusement over my safety.

Simboarding, which no doubt will soon be the latest craze on the grid, is a surprisingly fun version of skateboarding in which nobody breaks any limbs. However, I was not dressed for the occasion, having arrived from planning a photoshoot, yet I was forced at gunpoint (sort of) onto the board without due warning and pushed off at hectic speeds across the ramp. Thanks to which I promptly managed to turn myself upside down, thus inventing a whole new style of simboarding, and embedded myself in the floor, looking rather like a startled begonia.

Did she help me? Did she buggery, she turned into the weirdest dominatrix on the grid and stood on my feet while making unreasonable demands such as that I read the worms a bedtime story.

Moral of this tale: if Kitty tells you she's 'found something really fun to do', just say NO.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Happy Rezday to moi

Today is my 4th rezday and, true to form, I've only just realised. For four years I've been traipsing around the grid, filling up my inventory, forgetting my own birthdate and generally embarrassing myself. That's impressive shopping staying power, let me tell you. And I have the scary folder system to prove it.

Four years of watching SL grow, from a wee small little community of people in system skins to the massive squiggle of creativity and big ideas it's become now. From white skins and gothic sky castle to leopard skin and Whispering Falls. Different looks, new friends - and some I wouldn't leave behind for the world. I've had the requisite number of breaks, not wanting to think about the place, but I've always come back, no matter how jaded I got.

I guess you could say that's just because it's home.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Ginger, left-handed and persecuted by Cro Magnons

An interesting question was posed this evening, as I accompanied Jenni on the Tube home after our drinks. She recently (by accident, she claims) read a book that was authored by a crackpot; at first it appeared to have a solid basis in science, but soon revealed itself to be horribly written, chock full of exclamation marks and utterly nonsensical.

I'm not sure what it was called, but the premise has been making me chuckle ever since, so I thought I'd conduct a straw poll to see if the nutcase has a point.

He reckons, you see, that the Neanderthals had a high proportion of left-handed people with ginger hair, who were picked on by the Cro Magnons for being more creative than anyone else.

I have no idea how he came to this conclusion, but I doubt it will stand up for long in the face of scientific scrutiny. So let's do some scrutinising: I myself am left-handed, but I do not have red hair. I am, however, creative, in my own ever-humble opinion.

And how about you lovely lot? Would you have been safe from Cro Magnon persecution?

Talking of crackpot authors, I've been asked to write a psychology book - a little, inspirational, coffee-table one. For those of you not au fait with my cv (you really are missing out), psychology was the topic of my postgraduate degree, so I am, as you might guess, a little bit chuffed and excited.

Anyway, back to prehistoric man...

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Downward spiral

This has been an utterly dull weekend, which I blame on my aching sinuses, lack of cash and inability to leave the house when it rains.

It was improved by an impeccable, majestic, epic ending to this series of Doctor Who (Tim: shup) but swiftly ruined by a foolish decision to watch Wicker Man. Which is possibly the most ridiculous excuse for a movie I've ever sat through, and why I didn't wander off and do the washing up instead is a mystery to me. I am now faffing about trying to gather the concentration to write more of my book, but someone is frying onions and the smell is awfully distracting.

Annoyingly, this was one of those weeks that started very well and then tailed off, culminating in a downward spiral of boredom and decay. On Monday I braved Brick Lane to see a photography exhibition with the marvellous Lorna - who will now try to convince you all that it was MY idea to finish the evening in Burger King (Lorna: shup) - and aced another pub quiz with Tim and Yaz. I also saw a couple of movies I did enjoy - Gabriel and Batman Begins (a re-watch in preparation for Dark Knight) - but then came the weekend.

One can only hope that breaking out the 24 season six box set will improve matters.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Very hexciting

So I was watching some really bad chat shows today, the way proudly led by the grease-covered chav-fest that is Jezza Kyle, and something occurred to me.

I was five - count 'em - chat shows into the afternoon, and that accounted for just the one channel on just the one part of just the one day in just the one country. That's thousands of nutcases every single day appearing on the tellybox.

And yet I have never met anyone who has been on a chat show, nor have I met anyone who has met anyone who has been on a chat show. So where the bloody hell do these people spring from?

Anyone know?

And that's without even touching on what makes them think it could possibly be a good idea to go on one.

p.s. my nomination for best ever chat show: the Jerry Springer episode involving a witch doctor attempting to purge her hillbilly boyfriend's love for his pig. Genius.