REPORT A PROBLEM
"On the First day of Show Week, my pigeon said to me: Not allowed on Sunday Not til 10am on Monday Cos Jacqui won?t give us the key" Made no less than THREE trips to and from Durham today, with the car stacked up with these bloody pallets. There was some Christmas market on, and the council decided it'd be a really cool idea to shut the damn road. Like, the main one through the whole city. Got in ok the first time, returned with the second load, and the Neanderthals on the gate wouldn't let us through. Not impressed.
"On the Second day of Show Week my pigeon rigged with me: 6 16/30s 2 Freedom Fresnels 4 Minuettes 3 little preludes 5 bigger profiles And Bel went for a drink with Lee" Fresnels. Don't you just hate em! SEVEN HOURS RIGGING LIGHTS. Forgot the damn gels too. Back hurts, even though I got Rowena to do most of the lugging- up- and- down- ladders for me. Methinks the lighting designers are used to lighting much bigger areas. Mark got stressed which annoyed me. Rowena WILL NOT shut up even when threatened with mortal injuries. Need sleep.
"On the Third day of Show Week my pigeon said to me: Twelve hours of theatre Two full length run-throughs Lots of crappy paintwork One annoying techie And we're still missing Farah Ali" The guy playing Geoff, as in one of the biggest parts in the play, decided he had an essay to do and didn't show up tonight. Ok, so it was the tech rehearsal not the dress, but how the hell are you supposed to light someone who isn't there?! I got soooooooo mad at him. Rang him up and bitched but he had his phone off (deliberately, I assume). Bastard.
"On the Fourth day of Show Week my Pigeon said to me: Pick up the caving ladder Go to your lecture Study ape scapulas And Shoo was so pissed off with me." Went to a lecture today- first time all week. I got to play with bones again, my fave, except I was supposed to be working with Shoo, who also has a role in the play. I received an unexpectedly icy reception. Apparently yesterday's 9 hour rehearsal was "a little excessive". My view is, if she'd got it right the first time she needn't have been there so long.
"On the First night of Show Time my pigeon listened to me: Actors are acting Techies are teching Lights are lighting Tickets are selling Reviewer is smiling Audience are clapping So chill out and be happy" WE DID IT WE DID IT WE DID IT!!!!! WE RULE THE WORLD!!! WE ROCK!!!!! The first night is over, without a major hitch (though I got so overexcited that I wasn't concentrating and convinced myself they'd missed out a vital scene, only to discover they hadn't and I'm just blind and stupid. Then I slipped in my heels and fell downstairs. But hey!)
For reasons I don’t really understand, a lecture on the Bedouin tribes and their political systems failed to inspire me this afternoon. I can’t imagine why. One’s mind, daaahlings, is on a higher plain. One cannot be concerned with these trivial matters when one has Art to concentrate on. Less people tonight, didn’t sell as many tickets. This is panicking Mark again. (There’s more to life than money, surely!) I had to stage manage, ie: standing backstage with the cans on, cueing the lights, music, flying and on one occasion, prompting SJ. So, a little more tense than last night.
My ego is filling the room. Comments received after the show tonight: “Brilliant, you should both be really proud of yourselves.” “The actors were so natural.” “Best lighting I’ve ever seen in Durham.” “Truly original!” “Really good set!” “That was…worryingly fantastic!” “Leaves you wondering….” “When’s the next one?” “You’ve done yourselves proud.” “There’s so much of you in that.” “You deserve to do well.” Considering those weren’t just from friends and family, but from the Official Reviewer, from Durham Student Theatre exec, and from our rivals (the panto), methinks I deserve this bag of weed sitting in front of me.
How can one person screw your mind up so completely with so little effort? I think she was almost unaware of what she did to me tonight. If I encourage my brain cells enough to think about what we actually said, it is meaningless, utterly independent of our reality, incomprehensible to anyone outside ourselves. It's just the unspoken emotions that are so intoxicating, choking even. Too much is just bubbling below the surface. And despite all this, my overwhelming feeling is of relaxation, (finally!) and of happiness. The world has that soft pink glow again. I am sleepy. Four years.
Why is there always a come down? My head is still not quite right after the weekend, but reality has penetrated enough for me to feel truly deflated. Saw Mark briefly and he nearly made me cry. “Thank God it’s over. Beginning to wish I’d never got involved.” I could’ve slapped him. That was so NOT what I needed right then. One thing that did shut him up was that we actually broke-even, just. Paid all the takings into the bank this morning. Why is that so important to him? I thought he of all people would’ve seen beyond that.
Not feeling any better. Carl has gone. Vic has gone. Mark has shut himself in his room with his essays, not that I wanted to see him anyway. Shoo has vanished, didn’t bother showing up for lectures today. Don’t know why I am still here. Finished the damn Essay-From-Hell, put no effort into it and I know it could’ve been a lot better, but since it is ultimately irrelevant to my life, I didn’t see the point. There are far more things I could be doing, things I enjoy more, things I am better at. Bored. Lonely. Empty. Insatiably impatient.
Cured by food, again. Since it’s still warm, no sign of snow, and since we’ve all been so busy lately, no-one has really noticed it’ll be Christmas in a few weeks. So, I held Bel’s Fabuloso Christmas Feast. Gluttony Is Always The Best Policy, and we stuffed ourselves stupid. Mark and Lee turned up with fizzy white wine, which is generally unforgivable, except it was actually quite nice. Sophie gave me a finger-puppet Mole. (?!?) Got a big hug from Mark, admitting he hasn’t been himself the last week, and he’s back to being a “chirpy maggot” again. Me too.
Reminiscing: It’s not my fault that eventually he was too embarrassed to be seen with me. It’s not my fault that a few weeks after we split up, he turned up with a Very Nice Young Man called Greg. It’s not my fault that bloke I accidentally slept with ended up in hospital. It’s not her fault The Most Perfect Guy Ever bored her stupid. It’s not her fault she fell for the one guy she couldn’t touch (but did anyway!) And it’s definitely not our fault that, through it all, we were always far more interested in each other.
Never really realised it was possible to dream in another language, but apparently it is. Trying to find the airport… Junction 5…. Opposite a bar? ¿Que hace mi professor en este bar? Yo no se. Arrive minutes before the plane takes off… jump on without a ticket – I’ll pay on my card if anyone asks. Meet Paul… explain I just quit uni…. Realise all I have in my bag is a pair of shorts and an accordian…. Never mind… I’ll buy stuff when we get into Lima. Paul dijo que tenemos que cambiar en Malaga. A very sensible dream then!
Today was a non-event. I apologise dear reader, but I do not have the enthusiasm or the energy to make today’s entry remotely interesting. Woke up with a mild hangover and severe embarrassment factor after last night’s jollifications with Carl uni friends. Vaguely remember a girl called Elsa telling me in great detail how you broke the neck of a chicken. Remember trying to set Matt up with someone. I now own a folding Guinness Frisbee and a plastic shamrock, but can’t remember why. Dragged myself out of bed, and Carl drove us all the way back to Durham. Wow.
Ditto yesterday. Last mad dash around town for a few last minute Christmas presies. After giving Mark, Lee, Soph, Shoo, Vic and Hilzo theirs, the pile under the tree looks distinctly small and mean. So I bought extra chocolates for Mum, Dad and Gran, and some smelly soapy tea-tree things for Nan. Picked up my photos, it’s the other film from Finland – as in, from September, which I’ve only just got round to developing. They are black and white photos and the place looks delightfully wintry and snowy, even though it was still summer. Unlike here. Still no snow. Moan.
I’m convinced my parents are getting stranger in their old age. Their house is now heated with this environmentally-friendly backwards fridge, which extracts heat from under their garden. They’re planning on adding a Swiss-style balcony adorned with dragons outside their bedroom. In the garden, there’s a 4’ tall scrap metal flower, a large tin mushroom, a big metal spider in its web hanging in the tree. A purple-painted stovepipe protrudes from nowhere. A metal fish leaps in the stream. A pair of life-size plastic pigs graze the front lawn, and Gareth, the plastic goat, looks out on the back garden.
How long are we going for? Less than two weeks. Via Leeds. Just so Carl can photocopy some exam papers to revise from. Over the Christmas holiday. We will no doubt spend most of the next two weeks talking too much, eating too much, drinking too much and sleeping it off. The Parents will probably drag us on A Nice Healthy Walk in the cold through some Genuine Shropshire Mud, and they’ll probably go when my hangover is at its worst. So, Carl is packing up the car with nine textbooks, and three folders of geology notes….. Optimistic as ever.
You can tell when you are getting close to The Parents’ House in the car. The road suddenly shrinks to half its normal width, then develops a sudden and alarming fascination with blind corners. Tractors jump out at you while you’re not looking. The place names soon look like they were invented by someone cheating at Scrabble. Sheep multiply in the fields, unnoticed. The locals don’t recognise your car in the tiny hamlets, and stare at you suspiciously. The car radio starts to crack up and go fuzzy. The signal on my mobile phone splutters and gives out. We’ve arrived.
I’m feeling very Christmassy now. No matter how cut off my parents are from civilisation here, it’s nice to be way out in the middle of nowhere occasionally. Seeing Real Proper Stars in the sky, and walking up to the shop, crunching through frost, lighting the way with a torch because it is completely black after 4.30pm, feels wonderfully wintry. Somehow orange street lights and rain don’t have the same effect. Back at the house, the customary Christmas eccentricity reigns unabated, with Mum’s infamous musical dancing turkey, and the tortoise pulling a sleigh, done in lights on the roof.
I hate motorways. In particular I hate the M6 and the M25. Actually the M25 got voted Britain’s Most Ugly Place, so I’m not alone. Carl wanted to go to Mike’s birthday/ Christmas party. Fine by me, except it is in Gillingham, in Kent,- about 300 miles away. Fortunately Vic is at Uni in Wales and happened to be heading Darn Sahf too, and gave us a lift all the way. It took EIGHT HOURS!!!!!! Spent three hours just going round Birmingham. Chatted to Vic for the ENTIRE journey. We wouldn’t have stayed sane without each others’ company. EIGHT HOURS!!
My Non-Deity-Parent (think about that for a minute) Cathy, helpfully gave us a lift back up from London, as she was coming up to see my parents. Ironically, the journey back only took 3 hours. Cathy gets us all playing games. We attacked one of those memory games, “I went to market and bought etc.”: “My Grandmother went to hospital with Asthma, Botulism, Chronic Cystitis, Diarrhoea, Eczema, Fallen Arches, Gangrene, Halitosis, Ictheosis, Jaundice, Kerotinisis, Leprosy, Measles, a Nasty case of Nymphomania, Osteoporosis, Pins and Needles, Quinsy, Rheumatism, Schizophrenia, Tourettes, a Urinary infection, Venereal diseases, Warts, Xenophobia, Yellow fever and Zoophobia.”
Cathy is still here: “The week before Christmas, my Mother staggered down the road to the off licence and bought Amarula, a Barrel of Beer, Calvados, Drambuie, Elderflower cordial, Fosters, Gold Label, Hoc, Icy Vodka, Jack Daniels, Kaliber, more Lager, Martini, Nun (blue), Orange Juice, Pina Colada, (there was no Queue in the offy!) Rum, Sancerre, Tequila, Underberger, Vat 69, cans of XXX, another Yard of Ale, and ingredients for Zombie cocktails.” And even after drinking all day, we could still just about recite that, although we did add a few misplaced diseases into the list….. Doh. Merry Christmas everyone!
This evening, I, Annabel Terrill, tone deaf, tuneless and terrible, went Carol Singing. Voluntarily. Not only did I go Carol Singing voluntarily, but I actually enjoyed it too. And, if that were not good enough already, although I was in a public place, NOBODY COMPLAINED ABOUT MY SINGING!!! Even when I was nowhere near the note. Even when I didn’t know the words. AND, I got free mince pies, mulled wine and sausage squodges (I believe they may have been sausage rolls at one point, but they certainly weren’t roll-shaped by the time I got to them!!). I am amazed.
Another parody, I’m afraid: T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, People were drinking; (Bowmore, not Scotch Grouse!) The pressies were moved from the sofa with care In the hope that we wouldn’t sit on them there Us children were nagged at to go to our bed But we preferred to stare, comatosed, at the telly instead. Dad in his slippers, Mum with her (night) cap And Carl with the computer, snug on his lap. Then we heard a loud clatter, yet the night was still black Oh God said Dad, I hope the squirrels aren’t back!
Bel’s Christmas Present Pile included: “Stupid White Men” by Michael Moore. A book on “The world’s stupidest laws.” Private Eye’s “Carry on Vicar” (depicting St. Blair as a local vicar of St. Albions) -and I bought Carl the first book of “Bushisms” – quotes from Reverend Dubya of the Church of Later Day Morons. Is someone trying to tell me something here? Am I really this cynical? Is it that obvious? Or were these kind people merely pointing out that I Am Not Alone? Peace And Goodwill To All Men. (providing they are rich and have friends in the right places….)
I have eaten too much. Really and truly. I have been chocolated to death. Someone very naive gave me a Latin American recipe book for Christmas and I have been Cooking today. A dangerous business for all involved. I turned excess potatoes into Chupe de Mani (peanut-butter soup to you and I), and the remains of yesterday’s roast into Pastel de Choclo. Pastel de Choclo has nothing to do with Chocolate, but it’s Chilean shepherds pie. Only instead of potato, it is topped with pureed sweetcorn. All very well except we don’t have a blender to make the puree. Doh.
Another thing that annoys me about Britain is that it is only ever really Dark in the few remaining wildernesses, like my parents’ house. Now we are back down south. Not really near any big cities yet. The sky is smothered in blanket clouds. And it’s frigging ORANGE. No magical stars, not gothic blackness, just sludgy ORANGE ming. “Oh little town of Bri-i-ighton How far we see thee lie. Above thy Lanes and endless streets The filthy cars go by. Yet in the dark streets shineth The everlasting light. Polluted air and street light glare Are met in thee tonight.”
We are down in Brighton. There are lots of cool looking people wearing purple with their hair in dreads. I like Brighton. I fit in here. Nan is her usual jolly self, going out Bingo-ing, then rambling on the hills with her friends. She’s off on holiday AGAIN in the spring, lucky her! She’s planning on going back to the Eden Project in Cornwall in a few years when it’s finally finished. Meanwhile Other Gran is not well again. She’s fallen over and hurt her wrist, can’t stand up easily. There’s no way Gran would be planning holidays for 2005.
New Year approaches. I will be 20 years old in February. My god, that’s ancient. I can no longer get away with being a hormonal teenager. You Know You’re Getting Old When: You watch “I love 1988” on TV and remember Roland Rat fondly. You buy DangerMouse stationary for that Retro look. When you have been with your partner so long people start buying you “joint” presents for the kitchen. When you receive/find yourself writing those hideous Christmas Round-Up letters to friends you can’t be arsed to keep in touch with properly. Aren’t they the worst American export ever invented?
Dear Everyone, Hope you all had a good Christmas break, and Happy New Year to you all. Life has been good to us here in Durham. Carl is now in Leeds studying geophysics in order to find oil and continue to support corporate multinationals. Bel has contributed to the artistic world by ruining her best friend’s social life and bankrupting them both. The fish are not so good. We were sad to lose no less than seventeen tetras when Islington the Angel Fish ate them. The house continues damp as ever. We must keep in touch now old age approaches.
Bel’s New Year’s Resolutions 2003. -Learn to speak Geordie. -Lose weight, preferably without the use of exercise, dieting or any major lifestyle change. -Patent my telepathic weight loss program. -Resist the urge to pay £2 for a single cup of coffee in town. -Endure pub-work in order to save up for Nicaragua. -Spend at least an equal amount of time studying as I do in the theatre. -Limit my curry intake to one per week. -Clean out the chip pan. -Learn not to torture the slugs in the bathroom, as salted fizzing slug corpses are not very welcoming. -Renounce Sarcasm.
The Tip Jar