Sunday, 27 January 2008

I listened to the Scrabulous song and really wish that I hadn't

I just listened to a song about Scrabulous. When I heard there was a Scrabulous song, I got a bit excited, especially when I read it was created “by an anonymous Scrabulous fan”. I was hoping it would be a nice lo-fi affair, maybe with some Bontempi keyboards. And that maybe it would make me feel the same way I felt when I first heard “Library Card” by Arthur and Friends. I had a feeling it might be in a similar vein. In my head, it would go: words, more words, maybe some cutesy reference to triple letter scores, perhaps make a thing of the blanks, more words, like have a line that goes “he/she turned my CUSP into BICUSPID, refused to let me go”, something like that, something wordy and clever and good.

The song starts, and it is instantly bad. It is immediately horrible. It is R and B, I think. It is supposed to sound sexy. A song about Scrabble has no business being sexy. It should have good words in it, and not have a line that goes “Oh, swappy swappy.” “Swappy” isn’t even in the Scrabble Dictionary. It’s not even a word. Why would someone do that? Why would someone who doesn’t know that “swappy” is not a real word write a song about how great Scrabulous is?

I’m not sure why I’m so angry about this. I think it’s a mixture of disappointment that it wasn’t the lo-fi song of my dreams; horror that it was (a) R and B, and (b) really really bad; and then irritation at the lack of correct word usage.

I really really hope that someone counters this atrocity by writing a lovely song instead. I imagine it would be right up Evan Dando’s street. Or Kimya Dawson’s. I hope they listen to it and come to the same conclusion. I hope they do it quick.

Friday, 18 January 2008


I have had a new story accepted! Yay! It'll be in February's Beat The Dust. I can't wait.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Gargling with Vimto

Driving has been the theme in the house, of late. I can’t drive. Not officially, anyway. I made a friend teach me the basics, because I had this fear that if ever I was kidnapped, and then managed to get away, and also managed to get the keys to the truck/car, I wouldn’t be able to actually drive away to safety. And so I learned how to put the key in the ignition and I learned that the pedals go A B C from the outside. Accelerator. Brake. Clutch. And I even drove at 40mph and learned how to do hill starts. But I am quite scared of traffic at the best of times, and I do not think I would make a very good driver. Although I like the idea of having a scooter, but I think that’s because I’ve watched a few too many Italian films. I think a scooter would be a DEATH TRAP in my hands. I think I’d only want to ride it on the pavements. So I will keep doing my bit for the environment and continue catching the bus.

I’ve read a lot of things this week that have made me step back, shake my head, and then dive right back in, still amazed at the amazingness of the words, still a little dazed. It has been great. Last week was all about writing. I had deadlines and also, I had these manic episodes where I had to grab my pen and scribble down stuff at top speed to catch up with my brain. It was a flurry that I knew I couldn’t sustain, but as long as it was happening I wasn’t going to do anything to stop it. Even though all the books I bought with my Christmas money arrived, even though it was my busy week at work, even though my hands were sometimes so cold that in the end I had to resort to typing in fingerless gloves, totally rocking the hobo look, I still had to keep on. And then it calmed down again. So this week, I have been reading. Lots. And I’m so spoilt for choice that I don’t know where to go next.

I’m feeling quite positive about 2008. I still don’t think it looks right, as a number, but I am getting used to it a bit now. Sometimes it feels as though time is running away with itself. Maybe that is partly to do with us stamping a month ahead at the Library. We are already stamping for February now, and in February we will be stamping for March. And so the year gallops off into the unknown all over again. It does feel like good things are going to happen, this year. Already, it feels a lot better than last year felt at this time. We’re only two weeks in, and I have things to be excited about. Being excited about things is almost as good, if not better, than the things themselves. So right now, to paraphrase Carol Ann Duffy, “I (am living) in a kind of fizzing hope. Gargling with Vimto.” I only hope I don’t choke.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Tonight I tried to 1903 my brain.

Tonight I went to the cinema and watched a film that was made in 1903. It was the first narrative film, ever. It's hard to even imagine them having films back then, but they did. I sat back in my seat and I tried to get into the mindset of a person from the year 1903. It was quite difficult. My mind was kind of blank. All I could think about was how I'd have never got to my seat if I'd been wearing a long dress, never mind one with bustles or crinolines or what have you.

As it started, I tried to imagine what it would be like, to be seeing film for the first time. Apparently people ran out of the theatres screaming, thinking they were being shot at. And I watched it hoping to be scared, hoping that I had 1903'd my brain enough to be full of wonder at the scenes unfolding before my eyes. But it didn't work. My brain hung onto the digital age and smirked. And I just felt disappointed.

Friday, 4 January 2008


A piece of my writing is online at Un-Made-Up. Hooray! I am happy about this, a lot. I love that instead of "non-fiction" it is "un-made-up". That kind of talk is right up my street.

The universe will be okay

I am quite excited. I have had my first rejection and my first acceptance of the year. And within six minutes of each other, too. Which feels very balanced. Like the universe isn't going to spin off and be crazy or anything. They were two of three things I wrote on December 30th. One was a story, one was truth, and one was a rambling stream of consciousness pretending to be a poem. One of these is going to be online tomorrow (or actually later today now), and I will post the link when it goes up.

The site it is going to be on is a really lovely site, and I am a bit giddy about it. I found out about this site from this lovely blog, which I found out about from this blog, which I am addicted to, but in a good way.

Words words words!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

There is a light and it never goes out. Or maybe it does.

I heard the body truck on New Year's Day, and it made me feel sad that someone had died on New Year's Day, or maybe even on New Year's Eve. But then I thought how people die all the time, and why should one day be any sadder than another. They're still dead. And I guess the sadness is not about them, because they obviously aren't in their bodies anymore, so they're either off somewhere else, or they're just gone, and they can't really "feel" sad anymore either way. But for the people who love them, it must be really sad, because, as well as losing them forever, on top of that, they won't be able to "celebrate" the usual celebrations without feeling unbelievably sad for the first few years, then wistfully sad for the the next few, and then guilty for a few more after that, when they smile on that day, or get a bit happy about something. But by then, it should be okay, but will hit them unexpectedly every now and then and floor them quite badly.

And it made me wonder if the person who died was happy. Happy that they made it to the next year - just. Hooray! But also happy with the life they lived. And then it made me think about if it was me that was dead, would I be happy? Obviously not about being dead, because I would be quite gutted about not being alive, although I did one of those quiz things people do on you and you say shapes and feelings and animals and words, and when I did my one, for Death, or "my feelings on Death", I saw it as a door and wrote the word "freedom". So deep down I don't think I'm too afraid of dying - just pain, really. No pain, thanks. But if I had no choice, and my time was up right now, would I be okay with what I'd done with my life so far? And a lot of the answer is "yes". But there is quite a bit of "no" in there, too. Because I have plans. Some are big, some are tiny, lots are silly and only mean something to me. But I would be sad if I died and hadn't done at least some of these other things. So I think I should get a move on, because you never know.

So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different. And where are the hoverboards?

At New Year I always have to listen to songs about New Year, so I’ve had Death Cab in my head all day today, with the lyric,“I wish the world was flat like the old days and you could travel just by folding a map,” going round and round and round. And I just got really excited about this prospect, and actually started yearning for ‘flat earth’ days, even though I wasn’t around then to really know what it would’ve been like. I can imagine, though, and I bet it was weird, although at the time, it wouldn’t have felt weird because they didn’t know any different. But if you were to travel back in Time to those days, then you would be walking around thinking how funny and crazy things were. And then you’d probably catch smallpox and die. And you wouldn’t be laughing any more.

I’ve just had it pointed out to me that it would never have been possible to travel “just by folding a map”, even if the world was flat as a pancake. Which sucks, because I really like the idea of that a lot. Maybe I’ve watched too many scientists curving bits of universe-coloured card, or maybe I am still a bit wine drunk from last night, but this map-folding idea just seemed like it could work. Like the possibility was there even if the science wasn’t. Yet. I like the word “yet”. It’s a good word.

So we had the New Year midnight thing, and it was really good, and earlier, we’d tried to get the atomic clock up but t’interweb was being really slow, so we put the TV on instead, and after we’d celebrated and wished our happy’s and danced with our fists in the air to Solsbury Hill, we looked at the computer screen and it read 23:29. And it felt really weird, because we all thought for a second that we’d somehow jumped the gun, and it kind of felt a bit like Time Travel, and that we’d have to “do” New Year all over again, and try to remember what order we’d played all the good songs in. And I got that shivery nice feeling I get when the clocks go backwards or forwards and the hour vanishes or gets to be an hour all over again (even though it really doesn’t). And a part of me was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t jump the gun, and that the time we thought it was was in fact the real time. Because (a) I really really like the idea of Time Travel, and (b) because everything was so perfectly good that I would do it over and over again, and each time, I would pay attention to different things, and it would build up a fuller picture in my memory. Now I just want to watch Groundhog Day. Happy New Year.