Thursday, 20 January 2011

On reading in public and other stuff

Last night I read some old poems at The Art House in Southampton. As usual I was filled with dread and terror, asked self very many times: why am I doing this? It's pure masochism! Went to the cinema with a friend to see the King's Speech, thought it would occupy my mind nicely in fact I slept through most of it - according to my friend and she was supported by a woman the other side of me so I believe it and I felt quite perky on the way out. As a fairly fanatical republican I probably shouldn't have gone but I saw Firth in 'A Single Man' recently and thought him marvellous.I expect he was marvellous in this too - everybody says so, once more I am in  minority of one - nothing new there then. Anyway I got very cross about Helen Bonham Carter who had little resemblance to the doughy faced woman that I remember seeing once at Epsom race course and a million photographs.I think I will move on away from the royals lest my blood pressure rises and I make more enemies!

The reason for the old poems is the fact that my old computer has taken a  turn for the worse and refuses to download any files so I can neither print out or work on documents. My new computer is cute and awaits conversion into  my chief tool of communication the expert is comng later frabjus joy! I -  hope. Meanwhile I can play with emails, facebook and Twitter all day with no compunction at all a guilt free dilettante day.
I must write new poems too with a slightly less anti male bias. Now that I have a woman lover I can afford to be  more tolerant of the male -not being in direct fire so to speak, at least in theory. In fact I still seem to be rampantly pro female but I can work on this. Perhaps.

Still the need for public affirmation perplexes me but it seems to be there so I will obey my instincts and carry on taking my heart in my hands and hope the audience laughs, preferably in the same places that I do.
Here is the link to the superbly delivered  reading by Nina Ludovica Smith of an excerpt of my novel, A Blues for Shindig which was recorded at a gig in the Arts Laboratory in Berlin. It is not our preferred piece and the interview is inaccurate in a few places but who cares? ( apart from me!) We hope to perform at  NotaBar in north London soon and hold both self and work to ridicule again soon!
(In fact this link does not work so I will erase it!I will get it  on to my blog another way, it is already on the Legend blog click on picture of my book & it will appear.) 

Monday, 17 January 2011


Some weeks ago I went to a party and saw the Xfactor for the first time. I was comfortable  and had a chair and I stayed riveted.  I had managed somehow not to see this though many of the people I know enjoy it. I found it barbaric and sad.  The noise was hideous, the enormous amount of energy that exploded onto the screen was obscene. Seemed to me that this vast energy could be far better spent and when I heard that more people vote for this than vote in elections I nodded to myself in a self congratulatory way.  This is the danger of emphatic disapproval it leads to conceit. After all. Who am I to disapprove of a programme that is designed and succeeds in pleasing the public?
But public hangings were a real hit I believe with characters queuing up to watch the twitching death of another of their species - no doubt roaring their approval and derision. Bear baiting too was seen as a good night out and dog fighting still remains popular so do we give the punters what they want at any price? Well, no we don't. We manufacture something that appeals to the lowest common denominator, costs nothing for  the performers who clamour to be on television and makes at least one person fabulously rich. The advertisers must fight to flog their products during the breaks in this   particular programme.
So, have I become a supporter of censorship. An arbiter of good taste. No and yes .I am now po faced critic who finds the humiliation of the 'losers' revolting to watch and I won't watch again. Did I mention my opinion to my friends who were hooting along to the show? Certainly not, who am I to judge? And who wants to be seen as a humourless reactionary?
I stayed shtoum!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Greed as virtue

Food glorious food

I am a radio four fan/freak to the extent that I arrange my car journeys around programmes I like and have been know to sit outside my house in the car until a particularly enjoyable programme ends. Ed Reardon is my favourite and  I cringe  and identify particularly when his writing group rebels - I 'taught' creative writing for a very long time - too long.
So I have the radio burbling in the background and tune in to  anything that catches my ear. Woman's hour has been talking about food, weight and dieting - again. They seem to have been on about it for days and nobody ever says they are just plain greedy and that food is gorgeous and meant to be enjoyed. I get a lot of pleasure from food and have noticed in the last weeks that when anybody says 'How was your Christmas?' I rhapsodise about a wonderful sour cherry sauce al la Delia that I made with a duck that I cooked perfectly. These things don't always come off and this time it did so I am justifiably proud but am not sure if that should be my highlight. I also enjoyed good company and no disagreements but it is the cherry sauce that I remember.
 When I was a child I was beanpole skinny and, naturally, I longed for some curves and I was called the dustbin because I would swoop on any leftovers and gobble them up. I am still greedy and like greedy people around me but I don't expect they would call themselves greedy because it is now a word of abuse. I enjoy my greed, I love to go to a new town, especially in France and spend hours wandering around looking at the menus, comparing  combinations of food imagining the tastes and generally drooling, my brother- in- law  who I admire tremendously took sandwiches to Paris with him when he went to the Monet exhibition. To save money he said, I said nothing but this seemed tome to be folly of the first order. Sacrilege.
Recently my partner had a young  German girl staying with her who ate phenomenal amounts of food, a joy to cook for and a good lavish cook. Our eyes would gleam over my English specialities bread and butter pudding, cauliflower cheese would disappear at a rate of knots and she would make excellent German dishes and chocolate cakes. I think my fondness for her was based on our mutual love of food, food and books. 
I have never had a partner  who loves food as much as I do. My husband was diabetic and when we got married I got the Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook and indulged in Cordon Bleu which was the fashion then. He gained a vast amount of weight and I nearly killed the poor man so lush cooking had to stop.
Then I was with an excellent Irishman whose preference was for Guinness and I adapted and also gained a lot of weight. Now I am with a wonderful woman who is definitely not greedy but I am working on her, hopefully she will become less abstemious in time. Meanwhile I seek out hearty eaters and feed and admire them, in my book greed is good.
I am slightly overweight but I'm worth it!