Saturday, 28 March 2009

My near and immediate future set in verse

Hot chocolate and a cosy bed.

Now that's poetry.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Say the word

I first saw her from the corner of my eye while I was googling for statistics on coffee production around the world.

The slightest of flutters behind a half-demolished stack of papers. Easily buried in the shadows of academia.

Distracting me all evening with the shimmer of Meaning.

Bolder and bolder as she fluttered around the room.

It wasn't easy to entice her onto Microsoft Word untitled-1.docx. But there she sits above demanding green squiggles.

She makes no sense nor sentence yet.

Just the word carrying the weight of an unwritten story.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Princess Lessons

It ought to be my dirty little secret, but I owe these books too much to hide the truth.

I love the Princess Diaries. All ten of them.

I'm quite certainly too old to be in the demographic that the books target, but I remain a sucker for happy endings and I credit them immensely for their significant contribution towards my social and emotional development.

Why deny it - I've learnt more about myself, my friends, and everything that goes with being part of the cell phone, iPod, pop-culture, consumerist generation, from TPD.

Other books
have real conflict. The heroes and the heroines have real problems - war, poverty, no family, evil witches.

It's all very well that that's inspiring, but that doesn't really help me in my cushioned existence now, does it?

Just because I have nothing but love, friendship and comfort at every step, doesn't mean I'm going to give up on having some drama in my life.

Me and Mia, we like the drama.

It's my right to have problems. Loads of them. Nobody has problems bigger than mine and I'm convinced that my world will end.

So it's an extremely grounding experience to be reminded in rather amusing literary style (full of smart contemporary pop-cultural references that have for too long been denied the recognition deserved in fiction) that none of my problems are problems at all.

That every nobody-understand-me or nobody-cares-about-me situation is a been-there-done-that-so-get-over-it for every other formerly self-pitying teenager (and 20-something to be fair).

That happily-ever-after is only what I make of it. And hence, there's still hope for happily-ever-after. After-all, everyone needs the fuzzy feeling of a happy ending :)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

On Patrol last Sunday

Snow Patrol!

Still grinning.

Amazing seats.

Amazing band.

Grinning too much to come up with anything more descriptive than 'amazing.' It was an investment well worth making, and it's taking some measure of self control to refrain from pasting lyrics that I have fallen in love with all over again, across all my status messages, tweets and similar stations of online existence.

Here's a clip from the show, from someone who'd brought recording equipment along. Not mine sadly.

Some wisecrack about going to the dogs

So there was this proposed visit to Wimbledon stadium to watch greyhound racing. More school assignments.

I knew nothing of this alleged sport I was going to watch. Except that there would be dogs running around a track.

As an introduction, our tutor gave us the book he wrote about his short and unfortunate stint as a race dog owner. All I knew at the end of it was that I still couldn't understand betting odds.

Ignoring the ethical ambiguity of what I was indirectly supporting, I trekked to the tracks at Wimbledon.

The place didn't smell of dog, but it smelled of beer and burgers. And high spirits.

Old men in tweed, elderly couples, some spiffy suits and loosened ties, and even a bunch of German school children were at the races, clutching race sheets and counting their bills. The screens continually brought up the odds.

The really serious punters, the ones who said they'd been coming here every week for over 40 years, were those that skipped the screens and instead peered at bookies through binoculars, while making illegible notes on their race sheets.

Soon, the first set of dogs are paraded.

Nunhead Jack stops to sniff a post.

(One should expect no less from a dog. "Come on boy!")

With two minutes to go for the race, the last bets are placed.

The gates open and they're off.

In less than two minutes, fortunes were made and lost. Me, I won the princly sum of 25p.

But at the end of the night, I quit both gambling and dog-racing. Quit when I was winning.

The story I wrote for University is up on our website mindZgap.

Friday, 13 March 2009

All work all play

The sports journalist has the best job in the world after the Swiss chocolate taster.

QPR were playing Sheffield United in London and my first assignment as fancy-shmacy sports hack was to cover this. (Read my report here.) Work at a football match was definitely in itself the benefit of a lifetime of accumulated good karma. But it only got better.

I was at a Championship game having paid 22 quid less than the cheapest ticket, with the added invitation to "enjoy the Cipriani's catering." (I did. Whoever Cipriani is.) My vantage viewing point was as good as it could get in the stadium, letting me keep an eye on the TV screen showing matches I was missing while I was at Work as well.

I was offered a press sweatshirt to keep me warm and allow me to turn my full concentration to the game. The bright blue thing was arguably fashioned for a strapping ex rugby player turned sports columnist, but it was cosy nonetheless.

Us sports types don't hang around with the common folks. We with our ubiquitous press passes and memorised stats reels collect in the press rooms to write match reports of a game where the most interesting thing to happen was that I went to watch.

Of course there were challenges. Like concentrating on hastily improvised shorthand while a rather easy-on-the-eye Portugese coach was talking at the post match press meet. And understanding that it might not be highly professional to ask the players to sign my press pack, however star struck I may be.

I could get used to such pampering. Of course, I'll be working for my supper.

Like when I visit the dog-racing track next week. On Work.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Lost masterpiece

These four walls
A window
Dark drapes hang heavily in unfinished blink.
Dust colours the unseen painting within
A shadow
Then not at all.
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