Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Just spotted this video of Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue from Ray-Ban Rooms on Vimeo.

I've seen Peggy Sue twice at Bestival, and I love them. They've noticeably come on since their early days, and play quite a boggling range of instruments now.

I hope you love them too. They remind me of my friend Zoe who I also love. I wish they would all have a gig together by the sea.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


My coursemates made me amazing birthday brownies today! I'm 23 this week.

Or should I say, we're 23 this week. I'm one of triplets, which has its pros and cons. I've always had people to laugh at my more inane jokes…
(not that this is me, but I'm sure this baby speaks for us all):

However, I have failed to capitalise on a niche market in identical dressing and its associated circus tricks…

Christ…… Do they have bones? Or any major organs?

Birthday treat - I met up with my sisters in London last weekend and our parents took us to see Michael Morpurgo's War Horse. I MUST PLUG War Horse. The stage is the best place to tell this story, and the puppets are magical, very emotive.

It also gave me a sense of stability. I reckon there's a PACT that comes into play in all family gatherings, of continuity. We could be turning into porcupines in private - after all my sisters and I are on different paths now, life throws up its fair share of roughage, especially in your early twenties when you're trying to *embark* on something. I expect I've changed a lot… but on reuniting, planets orbit in their established patterns.

I wonder if it's the same for my parents, or whether they get a picture of gradual and irrevocable change in their children, while we see them as a stable force in our lives…

When the picture inevitably changes, that must be really hard to deal with, and I suppose the trick when considering the future is to maintain an immovable certainty within yourself.

Enough pontificating.

Had two exams this week, and am preparing for work experience. Demands over Christmas look to be heavy as usual.

Twenty-Something! Welcome to LIFE. It's very late now, and I've not done everything I need to do yet.

Off to London tomorrow, to see the Supreme Court and have a bit of a birthday party… :-)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

29/11/2009: World

I went to a ‘world’ themed house party last night, like a scene by Kerouac, all wit and sensuality. I was comically ambushed outside the toilet.

“Oh your kimono’s so soft.”
“Ooh let me feel…”
“Oh, Alex…”
“If you do a poo, there’s a spray in there!”

I slept on a sofa. Portishead was playing.
This conversation I’d had that night was streaming through my head:

“Where did you go?”
“I went to Cambodia…”
“I heard it has a painful history.”
“Yes. Do you know about the Cambodian genocide?

He told it with an air of myth:

The aim was to go back to the beginning.
Year Zero.
Complete purity:
Living off the land.

So they had a purge of learning.
Anyone who knew anything.
They even persecuted those that wore glasses.

Millions died.
It wrecked the country.
As for living off the land.
People didn’t even know how to farm anymore…

When I woke up, music was still playing, in sombre, dreamy chords. The whole house snoozing.

I revised on the train back to Portsmouth, very drowsily. My coursemates and I had an amazing christmas dinner in halls… I made cranberry sauce for the first time – it's beautiful, and doesn’t taste bad either. I could get addicted.

28/11/2009: the march

I went on a march with Socialists today, called ‘Youth Fight For Jobs’.

My friend N asked me to come the night before.


I was quite tired. It was midnight. He and my boyfriend had been talking about philosophy for three hours. I'd had a hectic week, and had just pulled an all-nighter finishing my feature about the traumatised soldier.

“I thought it might be fun for you Alex,” my boyfriend said.

True enough. Find the pulse – it's interesting. Uncertainty shouldn’t stand in the way. I'm pretty sure I'm not a socialist, but there’s something gleeful about cynicism at these events, like covertly cradling a monkey.

'See you at 11, then.'

So I went with N, his bag full of Socialist newspapers, and my friend S, who I reckon is more unemployed than most, because the £1 in his pocket is saved for ‘emergencies’.

We stomped across cold, crispy London with drum-beats surging behind us. I carried a banner with ‘REAL JOBS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’ branded on it. My arms went numb to the elbows.

S: Yeeaaah this drumming is good
N [laughs]: You should learn to drum. Or hey, you should have brought your… you know, that little piano that you blow through.
S: My blowdicka!
N: Yeah yeah. Have you seen his blowdicka Alex? It’s very good.

Pedestrians grinned and snapped cameras, or stood staring. Taxi-drivers glowered.

One old man beamed blissfully at the sight of us. Young people, believing in something (anything)! Marching promotes optimism. I approve. We passed Big Ben, round face bouncing sunbeams.


Pfft. I scanned my fellow marchers: floppy fringes, dreadocks, miniskirts, Che Guevara berets… me and my pockets full of shorthand…
We haven’t exactly emerged from the mines, have we?


N: You know, this slogan was invented in the 19th century. People have been saying this for more than a hundred years!

So when they said 'never', they really meant it…

‘What do we want?
When do we want ‘em?

My friends, we will march, and we will state the bleeding obvious. The Key Problems of Our Time are collectible it seems. Somebody handed out badges about climate change. My journalism tutor refers to regular protestors as “Rent-A-Mob”.

But the jobs market isn’t level at all, and that's well worth stomping about.

I mean, what can you do to get your head above the water in these troubled times?

My sister, with a Masters and a 1:1 English degree from Cambridge, wants to work with books. She has been bombarding publishers with CVs all autumn, but interviews have been fruitless so far.

She also tried to get part-time work as a Christmas elf in a department store.

If top graduates are struggling, where does that leave everybody else? Relevant work experience eats up time and money, those without support are at a disadvantage, because contacts are everything. The most lucrative young person I'm aware of got a banking job via his dad's contacts. Other friends are hauling themselves up through the heap, working harder than anybody else, for no money more often than not.

It's deeply unfair. I'm sure Capitalism is to blame.

So there's realism, and there's principles…
And there's marching - which promotes Hope. A good thing, basically.