Wednesday, 30 September 2009
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Monday, 28 September 2009
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Friday, 25 September 2009
My dance teacher, Miss B, laments that I still can't do the move at 1.23. (Not to mention, you know, 2.49...) With the discovery that 1980s musical numbers could potentially turn us all into Darcy Bussells, she's taking our entire dance school to see the new Fame remake tomorrow.
I'm preparing myself for a let-down (the reviews are dreadful and I love the original way too much). But me and K will have a giggle and a singalong. And if Miss B starts expecting triple-turns followed by splits followed by back-flips... hopefully she'll remember that the floor had been polished tonight.
Update: The girl who can't pirouette in the film would be called Rosa, wouldn't she. sigh.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
I like photos though. If you hadn't guessed. And I've finally got round to starting a Fifty-Two Weeks project.
As the name suggests, the aim is to take one self-portrait a week for one year. Each portrait should expose part of your personality, or something important which has happened to you in the last seven days.
Anyway, I'm a couple of weeks behind: but here are my first two.
We watch the days we make our plans/We change in ways a life demands/I'll always remember this time, this place/The hope in your voice, the light on your face/Because anything can happen
- Jackson Browne, 'Anything Can Happen'
We learnt more from a three minute record, baby/Than we ever learnt in school.
- Bruce Sprinsteen, 'No Surrender'
It's interesting, posting them here on my blog and seeing how they relate (or don't relate) to the posts I've written in the last week. I'll refrain from posting my mini-diary here, as I do on Flickr, and only include the song lyrics. If you really want to know more, though, track the project on Flickr.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
A year ago today I turned up at a new sixth form for a second time, was given another planner, another timetable, more folders and more forms, and yet again found myself treading water in a rough sea. Most of what I remember of that day, though, is E.
A year on, there must be few people happier than I am.
My beautiful bunch I left in a bucket by reception, but the other twenty slightly spindly, trampled, weather-worn stems I gave out around college.
And may you have a bloom of Red joy today, too.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
"Vitamins and rest", the nurse said. bah.
I'm absolutely sick of being at home. It's bad enough missing college, but yesterday I felt too ill to even attempt something vaguely productive. I ate yoghurt and ice cream, and sat in front of Jeremy Kyle all day. My soul feels dirty.
A little better today, but there's only double English first thing, and I didn't surface until half nine. I'll write up the Politics notes E left for me last night, and finish the EPQ summary. And steer well clear of the smoothie maker.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Have faith: there was meaning to the madness.
Now look here.
Oh yes. It’s practically Glastonbury, but with more food and less tents, and it’s in Suffolk. And it was bloody awesome.
It has to be said, though, that we didn’t get off to a great start. Our friend Jess had her 18th birthday party on Saturday night, and I woke bleary-eyed the next morning with more than a bit of a headache. But we soldiered on, and before long had bright yellow bands round our wrists, and seven hours before Seth Lakeman took the stage.
“Hotdog?” E suggested.
I was a horrible grump all morning. Put it down to the over-priced food, a dodgy hangover, and the drizzly rain, but not even the two women dressed as pirates and screaming “ooh-arr!” in front of a group of bemused toddlers could cheer me up. In fact, all might have been lost if it weren’t for E’s quick-thinking. “Look,” said he, “There’s a butterfly house.”
I mumbled incoherently, and probably scowled.
Ah yes. The way to a girl’s heart is through her camera.
Snap-happy, I let E entice me towards the food stalls, and much, much later (after ginger cookies, lamb paella, and sharing a virgin pina colada served in an actual pineapple) we pushed our way to the third row, and waited for the music.
Well. Seth Lakeman is always jaw-dropping.
I called K during “Funnyman”, because we both love it, and waved the Nokia above my head while jumping around. This probably gave a weird pulsating effect, but K’s after-text (‘That was amazing! Xxx!’) implied she didn’t care.
- isn’t a bad way to celebrate one year with an amazing boy.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
The air hums with jets.
Down at the end of the meadow,
far from the radio's terrible news,
we cut the hay. All afternoon
its wave breaks before the tractor blade.
Over the hedge our neighbour travels his field
in a cloud of lime, drifting our land
with a chance gift of sweetness.
The child comes running through the killed flowers,
his hands a nest of quivering mouse,
its black eyes two sparks burning.
We know it will die and ought to finish it off.
It curls in agony big as itself
and the star goes out in its eye.
Summer in Europe, the field's hurt,
and the children kneel in long grass,
staring at what we have crushed.
Before day's done the field lies bleeding,
the dusk garden inhabited by the saved, voles,
frogs, a nest of mice. The wrong that woke
from a rumour of pain won't heal,
and we can't face the newspapers.
All night I dream the children dance in grass
their bones brittle as mouse-ribs, the air
stammering with gunfire, my neighbour turned
stranger, wounding my land with stones.
(‘The Field-Mouse’ from Five Fields, Carcanet, 1998)
Since I’ve had a favourite poet (and, let’s be honest here, it’s only been since Year 10), it’s been Gillian Clarke. Shakespeare comes close, with his: ‘My love shall in my verse ever live young’, but Gillian’s are more than just beautiful and masterfully crafted. They taught me how to read poetry – and for that, I’m eternally indebted.
I wrote a letter to her a month or so ago. I was trying to use ‘Phoning Home’ as the stimulus for an EPQ poem, and failing miserably. I thought that writing down questions as though posing them to her might help answer them. It did, at least for the writing phase of writing poetry. But the really tough bit, the bit that comes before – the thinking about it all before it goes on the page – I couldn’t even come close.
So I figured I’d send it to her publishers, c/o Carcanet Press Ltd. I might get lucky: they might send it on. I might get even more lucky: she might reply. But like I said, that was a month ago. And then, today, this came through the post in a hand-written envelope.
Man. Who needs the lottery?
I remembered I had to go to college in the morning. Thus, I woke up at 4am. And then at 5. And then 6. And then I slept in and missed my alarm.
I had assembly followed by Oxbridge followed by Tutorial followed by D of E followed by Music – and THEN I had a break to eat lunch.
I remembered why I shouldn’t have been pleased about going back to college.
I was attacked by my friend M, when, screaming “ROSA!” and launching her entire body through the air, she landed on top of me in front of the Years 12s.
I felt more than slightly claustrophobic at the number of Year 12s loitering in the corridors, and noted the fact that not one of them set foot in the library all day. I remembered the days when I was young and naïve too.
I found out that, comparatively, my exam results weren’t too bad after all. And also, that Ms O’G is predicting me two As and an A* this year. This, I decided, was slightly ridiculous, but went with it anyway.
I laughed at all the poor people checking out French textbooks from the library.
I was laughed at for getting homework in my first lesson.
I ignored the fact that I was again in homework debt, and spent my afternoon in town trying to find a remote release for a Nikon D40. I failed.
I came home and thought about the looming deadline for EPQ, but had to do the Corelli annotations instead. This would have been better had I owned a new remote release.
And finally, I got a letter from Swansea.
Today’s been pretty fantastic.
Monday, 7 September 2009
Here is the reply from Edexcel:
Thank you for your question. Please find my response below.
The resits are in June and will require study of all the 2010 set works.
See you on Wednesday, Miss B
I love Miss B, but it's the news I've been dreading. AS resits at the same time as A2 exams? And another 9 scores to learn by heart on top of this year's work...
"Pants", Miss, is utterly an understatement.
On the brighter side of life, E and I were watching the West Wing and found another Leo gem.
I really really want to work there. And not just because I love Josh.
I love Josh.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Dave asked me to come along to his gig on Friday night and do a bit of reviewing for the EDP. I was utterly blown away. As Shmatt put it: “Noah and the Whale basically stole his voice.”
Pastdoubt. Check them out here. And then give them a record deal.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Anyway. Aren't they lovely?
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Well, not quite. But it was a nice image.
College hasn’t changed much since we’ve been away, bar the conservatory which has sprung up out of nowhere next to the café. Otherwise, the hallways still smell slightly of coffee, the old A2 art coursework still covers the walls, and there is still a gaggle of people sitting on the tables in the library ready for a gossip. We chatted, I read some more Jane Eyre (parallels with Tess of the d’Urbervilles? I think so. Strong-willed, female protagonist? Check. Repression of women because of their gender and social class? Check. Really annoying, über religious subcharacter? Check.), and gently mocked the new Year 12s, in for Intake Day, until it was time for my own interview.
‘Interview’ is far too strong a word. Mrs I “Never mind”ed my not-so-great AS results, claimed I “never stood a chance anyway, straight A kids never do”, and showed me pictures of her new baby son.
My EPQ supervisor, our Deputy Director, couldn’t see me until midday, so I made use of my time by joining the back of the Year 12 line to get my photo taken. Joining my sixth form late meant that lots of the bureaucratic stuff never got done. Hopefully I’ll actually be able to get a gym card now…
E and I wandered down to Morrison’s. He was sacked from his previous job at a well-known chain food outlet yesterday, not naming any names SUBWAY, for nothing more than leaving the air con on overnight. The boss had a verging-on-obsessive dislike for him anyway, the pay was shit, and the work was ridiculous, so he wasn’t too bummed about it. Our trip to Morrison’s was to hand in an application form, but we weren’t holding out much hope. Low and behold, two hours later and I picked up the phone to hear him announcing they’d interviewed and given him a shelf-stacking job on the spot, for much better money than his previous cockroach-infested hellhole. Happy days. Thank God for capitalism’s transnational supercompanies.
Anyway. I eventually got to talk to my supervisor (I’d moan more about the fact that I’d been in college for three hours by then, rather than the 15 minutes my interview had taken, but she is really a very wonderful person and I like her a lot. Plus, she was busy with Year 12s. And we all know what a pain they are.) I mentioned that my essay was not 1000 words, as it should be, but 9000 and counting. She almost spat out her coffee. On the bright side, there’s no way I can cut it down to size. “So you might as well leave it.” Hurrah for independent learning!
Sonnets tomorrow, photoshoots and reporting come Friday, and then K’s holding one of her immense Summer House Sleepover parties on Saturday night. Here’s to the end of the summer holidays.