Tuesday, 22 June 2010

... Improve Each Shining Hour

Today after work, I sat outside a café sipping coffee and reading another rubbish book (more anon) whilst simultaneously eavesdropping on a former head of the Arts Council who was opining at the next-but-one table: 'Young people don't join choirs.'

What? Hasn't he heard of Glee? As in a more scrubbed and wholesome version of Fame, light on legwarmers and bubble perms and heavy on the Be! True! To! Yourself! message. It's a comedy for the aspiring underdog in all of us - a thought that makes me nauseous.

Singin' 'n' dancin' is the new politics/religion/chocolate/sexual position/handbag-sized dog. (Delete as appropriate.) Surely everyone knows that?

This finger-on-the-pulse chap was at the next-but-one table, but at the very next table was this woman. I had no idea who she was until a man with a tight t-shirt and a tattoo approached and said, "May I have my photograph taken with you? I'm your biggest fan."

"Too kind," I murmured, "But I prefer to keep a low profile, if it's all the same with you." (I was wearing dark glasses and my funeral frock* and was ostensibly engrossed in a book.)

"Not you, you silly old bint. Sonja, here. I'm a great fan of The Wire."

Not a day goes by without someone exhorting me to watch The Wire. Apparently, I shan't understand a word of it until half way through Series 3. Hours and hours spent watching lips move and drawing a complete blank - plus ça change ... I am resolved to watch it with my mother; her attempts to decipher the scripts of Miami Vice in the 1980s provided endless hours of fun and her hearing's even worse these days.

This is a very television-heavy post, which is somewhat bizarre as I haven't had time to watch TV for ages. Recently, I've been hugely busy making people cry and buzz for the nurse to take me away. (True.) Or arguing with my new Sat Nav and getting lost in Albania. (Almost true.) And shouting poetry through letter-boxes at old ladies. (I could explain this, but I doubt you'd believe me.) And planting lettuces and courgettes and weeding the border (between Canada and America - anything to put off writing the 80,000 words I must submit by September). Even if I had the time to watch TV, it seems that all I'll hear is the endless droning of vuvuzelas. I can sit on the step by my lavender bush which thrums with bees and have almost exactly the same experience.

* The Funeral Frock, which I'll be wearing again tomorrow, is made of silk and coloured with tangerine, pink, purple, aubergine and raspberry splatters. Like a violent incident in a greengrocer's. A few years ago, I was summoned to a funeral and told to dress as if for a garden party, in bright colours, not a hint of black. I did as I was told (in those days) and arrived at the crematorium looking like, well, a victim of a violent incident in a greengrocer's. I was slightly late, so flung the car into a space, ran down the hill, rushed into the chapel and plonked myself down on a pew ...

... in a sea of black-garbed mourners.

Wrong time, wrong funeral. And it wasn't as if I could leave without creating a fuss. As this occurred in Yorkshire, I expect people are still wondering who the inappropriate woman was.


  1. I love the image of "..shouting poetry through letter-boxes at old ladies." Nice to see you back safely from Albania.

  2. You have been quiet lately - now we know why! Put the poem down and step away from the letterbox - you are sorely missed here.

  3. The SatNav system was down on Friday.

  4. PS I had to leave that comment all by itself. For impact, ya know. Now I'll go on to say that this was hilarious and just what I needed after seventy gazillion miles in the car taking a first-hand look at that border you're supposedly tending to.

  5. And now I'm back again to say I had, just HAD to read the part about the frock out loud to my favourite Belgian, about whom I complained publicly some time ago as he never snorts with laughter at anything I say.

    But he just did.

  6. I've threatened to haunt anybody who dares to wear anything black to my funeral, when the time comes, so you would be most welcome to attend, complete with The Funeral Frock...

  7. Martin - the conversation (via the letterbox) went as follows.

    M: But you asked me to come.
    OL: Yes, I made an appointment.
    M: But you don't want to do it now?
    OL: No. I never wanted to do it.
    M: Erm, so why did you make the appointment?
    OL: I didn't want to let you down.

    BB - I'm not doing anything I ought to, and instad am doing a lot of what I oughtn't.

    Deborah - thank you to you and *my* favourite Belgian.

    Michael C - Yes, but can you understand what they're saying???

    Jinksy - Deal! It was ever so expensive, so I need to get wear out of it.