Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I should be so lucky

I had an unexpected Sash-free evening in London last week, and discovered that 'Merry Wives' was on at the Globe, and had got a rave review in the Guardian. I checked the Globe's website the evening before, and there were at least seven tickets left for the yard (that's where you stand, in the middle: it only costs a fiver and gives a real taste of what it would have been like to be a groundling, I think - it's certainly a unique experience). Next morning I was at work and forgot to phone the damn box office until 1130. They had no tickets left except five for the Yard, which someone on the website was dithering over - call back in 20 minutes, they said. I thought it couldn't take that long, so I called back in five. Sorry, sold out, they said. What about the website, I said - any that anyone's dithering over? Ooh yes, they said. Two left. So I got the last-but-one ticket in the whole theatre. Remarkable luck.

Later that day, a old work colleague of mine came into the office. She had a baby about a year after I did. She had a tough pregnancy: swollen ankles from month one, that kind of thing. And she had terrible problems with her hips - has been in and out of hospital ever since. The kind of thing that's so gruesome you forget the details, deliberately. She was still limping six months later. And she must be at least ten years younger than I am. How on earth did I get off so easily?

So I'm lucky in the big things, and lucky in the small things. It freaks me out rather, if I think about it at all.

'The Merry Wives of Windsor' was really good, too. Aaaargh.

It was quite broad, but never descended into caricature, so when Ford found redemption, it was not only believable but very affecting. Well, I cried, anyway - as usual. One of the things I like most about A, you know - I do call him A, don't I? - is that he cries as often as I do. The scene in the Archers between Ed and Emma had us both wiping tears away afterwards. I don't really feel apologetic about it as I can't see any way in which it's a bad thing - it would be more worrying not to be affected by art, if I may call it that. The Archers is very well written these days.

I've just spent a lovely day with a woman who would be my sister-in-law, if I was married to A and she was married to his brother, and neither of us is. Should I eschew the labels that reflect such tired conventions, or adopt them, as another kind of rebellion? Answers on a postcard would only work if you had very small handwriting.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Proud mother

I'd forgotten to say that Sasha is now beginning to put words together, which is fascinating to hear. The sibs have been keen to teach Sash the word 'bum', causing much giggling in the back of the car. Then last week the child farted, looked at me, and said "Noise. Bum." What a prodigy. I thought that was quite conceptually sophisticated, but I may have suddenly morphed into Competitive Parent.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


Much kudos to Russell T for resolving his cliffhanger in the first twenty seconds of the next episode. That man has style. The conclusion was a real stonker - A and I were both in tears as the doctor left an uncomprehending Donna behind. It all reminded me of a recent mailing list discussion -- probably on the Diana Wynne Jones list, which is by far the nicest list I've ever been on, consisting soley of intelligent, witty, people writing beautifully about relevant subjects and being nice to each other - on the nastiness of the device whereby everyone's memory is wiped at the end of the adventure. The consensus was that it renders the whole story pointless if the characters remember nothing, and it thereby insults the emotional investment you've made as a reader. We didn't agree with that chap in Susan Cooper's The Silver Tree who (SPOILER SPACE) has his memory wiped for him as an act of kindness, either. Anyway, I thought Russell T very adequately demonstrated why it's such a bad thing: the death of the character, in fact.

I've been wasting time online. I can't remember how, but I've stumbled on a lovely blog that dissects some of the very silly comic strips in US papers. Partly I just love his writing style; but the fascination is also in the sheer weirdness of the strips themselves. The blog is Comics Curmudgeon; to see the strips, you can build your own page at the Houston Chronicle's site. From Comics Curmudgeon, I found myself at Judge a book by its cover, a collection of truly dreadful cover art including my all-time favourite cock-up. From there I ended up wasting most of a day at Photoshop disasters: hynotically awful.