devi: (Default)
Hi! Hello. How are you doing?

I’ve forgotten how to do this. I want to tell you how we’re getting on, but resist letting it turn into a massive, self-indulgent 4000-word epic like I’ve done in the past. There's a metric ton of backstory which isn’t all mine to tell in any case. Anyway:

The short version is that Dan and I are moving to London in mid-September, so I can start a part-time MA at Goldsmiths in October.

the long version )
Anyway, it’s happening, which means several things:

Housing in London: Partly because we haven’t known till quite recently if there’d be one or two of us, we haven’t got a place to live yet. We’ve been looking at flats on the web but it looks as if most estate agents require both of us to have full-time permanent jobs, and that's a bit difficult if you're moving to a new city (or temping or self-employed). What we’re thinking now is that we’d like to find a room in a house share somewhere for the fairly short term, like four or five months, till we’re more established and can get a place of our own. There are various ways to do this, but obviously it’d be brilliant if it was with friends or friends-of-friends. I realise we’re all older now and there isn’t the constant churn of house shares that there used to be, but just in case: if any of you know of someone looking to fill a double room in their house, please do let us know. We’re domesticated and good-humoured, our previous landlord will vouch for us, and I can provide a pile of tax returns and bank statements and such to demonstrate that I do actually make money (and most of my work will come with me to London; it’s location-independent).

Seeing people in Oxford: Time, as ever, has snuck up on me and I keep realising that I’m probably doing things for the last time as a resident of Oxford. Next Tuesday is quite likely the last time I’ll make it to comics pub. On Saturday we’ll be at Gappy Tooth Industries at the Wheatsheaf to see The Evenings reforming for one night only – if anyone’s in town over the weekend and fancies a gig, it’d be lovely to see you there. We’re talking about having a yard-sale/giveaway/excuse-for-a-get-together sort of thing in our house. (Edited to add: how does Sunday 5th September sound?) I did it when I left London and it was great fun, and a good excuse to have people round. And there should definitely be some sort of house-cooling. And hmmm, anyone for Scott Pilgrim some time in the near future?

I might just sell or give away all my CDs, actually. I never got that attached to them as physical objects. I’ve gone to the CD rack maybe twice in the last six months. Last time I did, the first thing my eye fell on was Dead Media by Hefner, which made me chuckle.** I kind of want to just throw almost everything in storage and stroll off whistling, maybe with my guitar on my back like a great big hippy. Stuff. Who needs it? Well, my computer is nice, I guess. I’ll keep that.




*Edited to add: Except [livejournal.com profile] jackfirecat, who paid me promptly. Thank you very much, [livejournal.com profile] jackfirecat.

**And isn't even mine, come to think of it.
devi: (Default)
Yesterday I got off work early and went to see The House Of Books Has No Windows, the current exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. Till then I'd never seen anything I really liked there and had got into the lazy habit of thinking I had to go to London for my art fix. (Staring at Rothkos when you've only had a couple of hours' fragmented dozing on a sofa is an... interesting experience.) But this - It's only on till Sunday. If you are in Oxford, go see it. It is amazing.

It's a series of crazily detailed installations, and these are just a few of the things in it: Two old gramophone horns having an argument. Two others telling ghost stories. A tiny piece of countryside in a suitcase. Sinister killer robot arms. A tiny cinema showing the run-up to a murder. A Wishing Machine (tried and tested! Insert your wish here!). A huge epic song about tragedy and trains in the style of Nick Cave or maybe Tom Waits, and much more wonky, haunting, semi-automated music besides. And lots and lots of hinted stories that you have to piece together yourself as you wander around.

The first one is called The Dark Pool. It's the one in the main picture - a small dark-walled room filled with stacks of old books and odd objects, criss-crossed with wires from which dim bulbs hang. There are little speakers all around the room which sense when someone is nearby and start to talk to you, or to each other, or play music or fragments of old movie dialogue. There's something weirdly intimate about being near a speaker when it quietly says 'hello', as if a friend has spoken in your ear. According to the leaflet, and to clues you pick up as you look around, it's about old age and memories and half-remembered stories and maybe about the grandmother of one of the artists, but to me it felt like being in someone's head, cluttered with all the information they'd picked up through their lives, with bits of old conversations and jingles echoing round it.

(The subject line is how I misremembered the title after seeing the very cool flyers around town.)

It made me wish I could do some art installations. I do have an idea for one, but getting a room to do 3D stuff in seems much harder than persuading a café to hang your paintings. Then again I haven't really tried, so who knows?

Also: tonight Dan and I are going to a gig at the Wheatsheaf. Silent Alliance/Witches/Monday Morning Sun. "Monday Morning Sun was born from an admiration of psychedelic, ambient, dub, trip hop and mind-numbing guitar driven music, with lyrics pondering personal yet universal themes", says the mail I got. Do they really mean "mind-numbing"? I doubt it. But whatever, I haven't been to a gig in ages. Come join us if you're at a loose end. Doors are at 8.

The newspapers are making me dispirited and sad. Reading stuff like the column in the Independent by a resident of Gaza (his dad died ten days ago, and he just found out his house was destroyed on the day his wife's due to give birth), and the whole Heathrow runway thing, makes me feel like there's no place for optimism and that all idealism is doomed. But the bits of the world near me seem like a giant toyshop full of fascinating new things and exciting plans. It's a confusing business.

Happy weekend, all.

weekend

May. 23rd, 2006 01:19 pm
devi: (dancing)
The short version: Rain, bands, rain, talk, rain, stupid funny songs, rain, books, rain, rain.

On Friday night I trogged through the pouring rain to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] juggzy, [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies and [livejournal.com profile] annifa and go to see Sleater-Kinney, who were fantastic, all galloping guitar wig-outs, though I couldn't hear a word they were singing. I went scurrying to the merchandise table afterwards, but they had no CDs for sale. So we all went back to the pub and sat outside in the rain for a while before we had to admit defeat and go back into the warm and loud.

about a book )

After more drinking and ranting about the evils of society I went home on the Brookes Bus in the pouring rain, the hem of my skirt soggy, feeling kind of righteous and melancholy. At the bus stop a passing girl stopped and squirted washing-up liquid on the ground, then lathered it up with her foot. "Bubbles!" was all she managed to say before her friend dragged her on up the street.

Saturday was Polyfilla-ing the bathroom (and more rain) and then Eurovision! Drunken raucous fun as ever (thank you [livejournal.com profile] kauket) and enough key changes and costume changes to keep everybody happy. I wondered if it would be possible to program a Terry Wogan Commentary Generator. We all cheered like mad for Finland, though Lithuania was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Eurovision goes self-referential! Eurovision discovers irony! Oh man! Eurovision breaks the fourth wall! I was glad Finland won, but every point Lithuania got was a victory for humour and irreverence and it felt good. The hard core sat up afterwards till the wee hours playing card games, then taxi home in, guess what, the pouring rain.

On Sunday I did nothing whatsoever but lounge and read as the rain poured down outside. The sun's out now. I hope it lasts. Oh, now it's gone again.
devi: (bookish)
What a great weekend. Even most of the crap bits were sort of great. It started on a beautiful sunny Friday evening as [livejournal.com profile] killalla, [livejournal.com profile] kauket, Adam and myself went punting from Magdalen Bridge. So terribly Oxford: calm green water, weeping trees, spires hazy in the distance, people studying on the riverbanks. It all had that too-idyllic-to-be-real feeling I had in winter when I started cycling around town, like we were in a period drama. Kat had brought cupcakes. We didn't talk that much. In between fending off banks and other boats with the paddle, I touched the water with it to make intersecting patterns of ripples. Once Jo made a sort of "ahhh" noise which was exactly what I'd just been thinking.

Then to Templars for barbecue and games.

I slept in on Saturday, into the afternoon. That was the plan: it was going to be a very late night. Then I set off to get a top-up of London to keep me going. On my way down on the Oxford Tube, the sun was shining on yellow fields and hawks were hovering. When London came up around me it didn't feel draining, like it sometimes had before. It buzzed, and I was fresh enough to catch the buzz and run with it. The music I chose got faster the closer I got to the centre.

As soon as I got on the tube I saw three people in completely ridiculous outfits the like of which I'd never seen before: brocade tracksuits with short legs, flat caps and beaver hats made of patchwork and gingham. Fancy dress? The new style among Shoreditch Twats, or is it Whitechapel Twats now? Yeah, London.

Across Trafalgar Square – Nelson's Column is covered in scaffolding with scary ads about climate change, shots of landmarks under water – and down the Mall, getting tree pollen in my eyes, and I arrived at the ICA to see the Beck's Futures exhibition the day before it closed.

Much banging on about modern art )

So after some coveting of the entire bookshop and some texting to find out the plan, I headed down to Borough for the next bit. And what a next bit it was.

Let me know if there's loads of space between paragraphs. LJ doesn't seem to want to put in line breaks, so I've put them in as html. It was like this the last time I posted too. Hmm.

edges

May. 3rd, 2006 04:52 pm
devi: (lost)
I'm sitting in the back garden, in the sunshine, with a straw hat on. I have a cold drink and the internet and a cushion to sit on. My stereo is playing The Girl With The Sun In Her Head from just inside the dining room. I'm surrounded by dandelions and some kind of blue flower that just appeared suddenly, in clumps, one day. Thistles and brambles as well, but – shrug.

And what am I doing? I'm missing London. Silly.

it's all about the tube, innit )
devi: (dancing)
It's been a good week, full of funny little spikes of euphoria that hit me suddenly as I'm on my bike or sitting watching TV or wherever, really. And I feel like documenting it, with a big long rambling life-update, before the sun goes down and the dancing begins.

Monday: the life cycle of the lesser spotted time-travelling policeman )

Tuesday: being dense, floating, drinking, petting (well, not really) )

Wednesday: boys in grass skirts )

Thursday: hero's welcome, shakin' that ass )

So yeah, tonight: More dancing, but different. Later I'm off to get the Oxford Tube, meet [livejournal.com profile] uon and do some trance-dancing somewhere in a tunnel under London Bridge.

All good, all very good.
devi: (railway)
Hasty life-update: On Friday accidentally went clubbing, that is, went to gig at the Zodiac which turned out to be a club that just happened to have an hour or so of live band. Rather good club too. Though at first, when I thought people were just doing the 'stand around and wait for the band' thing, was surprised by the random strangers attempting to hug me. Band were Goth As F*ck despite playing breaks and other dancey stuff, I mean, they were called Devil's Gun and their first track was called Raising The Beast and they had a waily girl singer for that 'touched by the hand of Ofra Haza' effect. They should totally play Whitby. Danced myself sober, wheeled my bike up Cowley Road with others who were walking home, ringing in the ears and pleasantly tired in the legs.

On Saturday there was a pub lunch at Iffley Lock where I fed ducks and geese and then there was a murder mystery on a boat in Africa (aka Jo's flat) with no actual murder in it but plenty of intrigue and treachery ([livejournal.com profile] undyingking, my compliments, wasn't it one of yours?). I was a journalist who was Not All She Seemed and my accent flopped comically from bad posh-English to bad mishmash-American all night. It still fascinates me how in games like these people can put on completely different selves. It's kind of liberating.

Other than that, I've mostly been sitting in the red room working a lot on the travel book. I don't even mean sitting for hours hitting Refresh on my friends page and trying to psych myself up to work, I mean really working, without having to force myself, up to ten hours a day, because I want to. Ten thousand more words in this last week, either written from scratch, from brief notes, or patched together from longhand journals. Editing, formatting, making breakout boxes with information in them, investigating that Amazon Affiliates thing, fiddling with the cover. Also putting together a website on which to pimp self, though this makes me a bit uncomfortable. (Here are my reviews! Here is everywhere I've been published, which isn't really very many places! Buy my book! Go on! Oh dear.) Spent today finding bits of PHP on code websites and bashing them till they do what my site needs them to do. Feeling burnt-out now and nursing glass of wine.

[livejournal.com profile] carbonunit sent me twenty quid by Paypal before Christmas when I was panicking about money. [livejournal.com profile] carbonunit is a lovely and generous person, and perhaps might like to know that his money has just covered most of the cost of my domain registration and webhosting for the coming year.

But I still haven't got a job. My CV is out there, I've had a couple of interviews recently with schools who say they'll phone me when they have work for me to do, I have lots of potential work in March and April, but no job-as-such yet. I worry that all this book stuff is just an especially interesting-looking bucket of sand for me to stick my ostrich head in. But I only worry for periods of about five minutes at a time and then I get an idea for something I can add to the text or the site and back goes my head in the bucket again. Yeah.

Whoops! I forgot the main point of this post!: I've been looking at author websites and general web-stuff for inspiration, but haven't found anything that's set my world on fire, and some of the really cool-looking blogs I used to read a few years ago have actually become much more boring. So. Plz recommend me a website that you saw recently and thought looked cool/interesting/unusual/"whoa-I've-never-seen-anything-like-that"/just nicely done? I won't poach their look wholesale. (I couldn't - my web design skills aren't up to it.) I'm just looking for ideas.
devi: (Default)
I am closer than I've ever been to the room I have in my head. I got the first lot of my stuff back last night, from [livejournal.com profile] secretrebel's attic, and spent several glorious hours book-geeking – sorting them into categories and shelving them. Then I lit the lanterns I posted back from China and lay on the bed staring at the swirly patterns they make on the walls and thinking OMG my room is TEH COOLEST.

But today I woke up already feeling gloomy even before I was properly conscious. Yet another dark cloudy day, maybe. Or maybe it's the Red Wall oppressing me in some unconscious hardwired way. (Though I doubt it. I love the red wall.) I'm flat and uninspired and dwelling on things I shouldn't be. Even the books look weird to me. So many of them! So many words all over the walls! I'm not used to having so much stuff any more. I thought opening the boxes would be like coming home, but there was a funny undercurrent of unfamiliarity too. Like I'd broken the bond with the stuff by leaving it in an attic for seven months. Why do I have all this? I wondered.

I think I joined Oxford Freecycle at exactly the right time.

There was a girl at the bus stop the other night with her hand full of 2p pieces. She begged me to swap them for a 50p. I looked at her suspiciously even as I put my hand in my pocket, waiting for the catch. "I'm not a gyppo or nothing," she said. That word pisses me off (ever since the doctor who first shot me up with Depo-Provera said smirkingly, "We call it contraception for gyppos, you know") and I wanted to put the wind up her, so I said "What if I told you I was one?" I think she believed me. She said "Awww, bless!"

Then again, maybe being Irish and having had no fixed abode for half of last year would qualify me as one in her eyes. Who knows?

But it's great, even through the gloom I know it's great, to have a place to live again. And I know the books will come round. They're like wary pets who aren't quite sure what to make of you when you've been away a long time, but soon they'll remember me and love me again.
devi: (Default)
Scene: Cold December evening. [livejournal.com profile] bluedevi is cycling along Blackbird Leys Road. A group of LADS are walking along the footpath on the far side of the road.

LADS: Show us yer tits!
[livejournal.com profile] bluedevi: Okay.
(She stops the bike, gets off and parks it. She removes her hat, the bag slung across her, her full-length coat and scarf, then takes off her big woolly jumper and her T-shirt and unhooks her bra, putting everything in a neat pile on the grass verge.)
[livejournal.com profile] bluedevi: What do you think?
LADS (nodding): Yeah, they're tits all right.
([livejournal.com profile] bluedevi puts everything back on and cycles away.)
devi: (railway)
I just bought a bike. It was 25 quid. I wondered on the way over to see it whether a) it was a piece of shit, b) the owner was clueless, c) the owner just couldn't be arsed to charge more. It turned out a bit more complicated than that. The bike is lovely, but it's been stripped of anything that isn't actually bike. It has no light and no lock and no pump and no rack. I mentioned the lack of light and the owner said "Um, well, I've never cycled it at night." Hmm.

I rode it all the way back from Kidlington, four or five miles. The streets were quiet. Everyone seemed to be staying in out of the cold. Cycling past the cop shop with no light was a bit worrying, but no one noticed. It was perishingly cold, and I've barely moved a muscle this last week, and before long my legs were throbbing and my eyes were streaming and my cheeks were blaring heat, but I knew I was alive. Alive and mobile and not dependent on eccentric buses, and it was good.

Coming through the town centre I found a short cut down past Keble College, between building after building of fabulous prettiness. It felt funny cycling along the stone-flagged streets in my flappy black coat, in the dim yellow light - as if I wasn't there as myself but was acting in some sort of period drama. When I stopped at some lights to peer at my city map a white-haired man on a bike pulled up to ask if I was lost. I said no, I was figuring it out, but thanks. A tweedy young man with glasses who could have been Son Of Giles gave me a grin from where he was waiting to cross the road. The Radcliffe Camera - that round building which I think is part of the Bodleian Library? - was all lit up inside like a temple to books.

As I cycled past the floodlit dog-racing track, just before the house, a trumpet fanfare rang out through the speakers, out across the estate houses and up towards the icy stars.

I might spray-paint the bike a stupid colour. It needs a name too.

I'm playing at being a student, I know. But while it lasts it's a fun game to play.

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