Saturday, May 31, 2008

Late this Saturday morning

Last night, I fell for the hype. I fell for the nostalgia and hype cos me and Boy went to see the Sex and the City movie. Really, cos that's all it is. They spent a fortune in advertisements convincing women that we wanted this and needed this film. Man, It's getting harder and harder to realise the real necessities these days. I mean, if I needed a SATC film, then what word could I possibly use to describe what is "needed" in Darfur, Burma or China? Cos I can't use the word need! It's already being used for something much more important. Ladies, we needed this film.

And why was there so very little sex going on? Did I misread the title? They should have called this Vex in the City instead. E'r'body all mad all the time! Angry bitches! If you had a penis in this film, you were getting no loving. If you were a man who saw this film, I actually felt sorry for you. You were dragged to see this blatant, uncompromising chick flick. But consoled yourself with the idea that you would be seeing tonnes of sex. And you got none. This film was a prick tease.

Now, I did take my husband with me to see this. It felt right to tak him because he is my best friend. Maybe cos he loves me, it did not take very much convincing. I asked only once and got a very amenable affirmative. No arm-twisting, no cajoling, no negotiations... which means that he really wanted to see this shit! Nosey Parker! There were actually more men than I thought there would be, though I think this was because it was late show and there was no-one to see these guys going in with their birds.

Of course I was in the minority, as there were tonnes of groups of women coming from the show before ours and into our show. And they were always in fours -- amazing! Amazing because, firstly, I don't even know three other people! I took my husband. Secondly, they were all dressed up to the nines -- bless. Third, each one of these groups had a member that matched a SATC character. Now it isn't so hard to find a ginger (redhead) over here, so the Miranda role gets easily filled. And the Carrie role gets fought over anyhow; there's a queue of women dying to pretend to be like Carrie. And the role of Samantha the slapper: again, very easy to fill. Shit, just take a look outside any bar on a Saturday night and you'll see a Samantha clone. The girl who tended to fill was always dress inappropriately and was a bit too big to wear what she was wearing. And was very loud. No, by far the hardest role to fill was Charlotte. I've never seen anyone as proper as her over here, ever. If such a woman existed in the Lothians and Borders, she was certainly at a premium last night, filling out SATC foursomes. She was probably double-, or even triple-booked, taking in the 1920 show with some work mates, the 2100 show with the girls from the gym and the 2245 show with her uni pals. Our faux-Charlotte is now probably exhausted and has more engagements tonight, rounding out more quartets.

Now all we need is a Friends feature film and my nostalgia will be complete.


Can a dog have a sense of entitlement?

Cos my dog does. For some reason, she has taken to climbing onto our bed. It started off to kinda alert us now upset she was when we rowed. Boy and I used to go awwww and stop immediately. Now it's just all the time: she's hungry or it's Tuesday. Who knows a dog's logic? She also gets highly worked up about her food, all but jumping on us to let us know that she wants her meal. She was never like this before! It's because she knows she can get a reaction from us. So I'm begun to take the bad cop role. I'll ignore or tell her angrily to get off the bed. This morning, she was, again, demanding her food. I ignored her, pleased with my restraint. But then Boy fed her.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The comedy of hubris and growing old

Boy and I are big fans of comedy. It's my favourite thing to see when the Festival is on. (So what then instigated my disasterous foray into Hamlet last year? Who knows?) So when I had the chance to sign us up for a free stand-up comedy taster workshop, I jumped.

The class was hosted by a likeable enough woman who worked as a professional comedian. To be honest, that was hard to believe. She looked like she worked at a funky boutique and has an involved, but totally plantonic relationship with a guy who wears graphic Ts and Converse shoes everyday to the independent record store he works in. She's obviously part of a new breed of UK comics who believe that earnestness passes as humour. Again, quite likeable in her middle class slackness, but Boy was getting increasingly put off by her mannerisms (which, I could totally understand). She was supported by a guy whose most salient features where that he arrived late and sported a blonde curly mop of ugly-sexy origins .

We all began by introducing ourselves and had to tell what we found to be funny. Then said course leader would critique it. Good, good... good one, for some, while the guy who ventured The Chuckle Brothers was less than embraced. I appeared like a total twat when I cited my family as making me laugh. C'mon, people who know my lot: they are hilarious, innit? But really I should have said Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. Boy, who also arrived late (surprise, surprise) stammered a bit too long. I wanted to jump in and shout, "He loves Derek and Clive! He loves Derek and Clive! For god sakes, don't judge him too harshly!"

Then we had to share a funny anecdote. I shared about the Bladar and Tyreek, which brought the house down -- I'm just getting too into the comedy lingo. Nah, I got some chuckles and good feedback. Some people were just too good with their presentation and stories and made some of us feel like the plebs we were.

The funniest bit came from the youngest person in the room. Unintentionally funny, that is. I'm going to sound like a grumpy old woman as I tell this bit, but so be it. I'm just about ready to embrace the grumpiness. The Youngsta, when initially asked what made here laugh, said not much. Well, fair enough. There is enough tat out there. But then said that she did like Little Britain (who doesn't?) and Friends. Now wait a minute, I liked Friends all the same, but probably for different reasons: it is a visual definition of my generation. But it is, by no means, a comedic magnus opus. The Simpsons I get, Friends - nah. But I quibble, as everyone is entitled to her own opinions and the next bit was the funniest. Actually, what makes me laugh, she said with a lack of self-depication characteristic of young people, is me. Oh boy.

Then when we were to share our funny anecdote, she decided to do two pieces of work from her comedy cannon. I actually couldn't follow them because I have long since lost my fluency in teenage-speak. Something about MSN (I think she used MSN as a verb as well) and a boy that was kinda cute but then she stuck her head in her bag... I don't know. It was a bit of a mess and what do you say to a mess?

What we oldies have been conditioned to say to young people: that was great! But it wasn't. Sure, we gave her kudos for her confidence, but her arrogance was nothing to be proud of. I think kids are told too often how great they are. That statement might ring false, coming from a teacher, but they are. And this kid had been told one too many times that she was amazing. Kids should be treated like I was when I was young: told to shut up and that I was nothing special. And look how great I've turned out to be.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My base or, more musings about music

I think yesterday's chat with Macca has opened up a can of worms in me or something. I do believe I have underestimated the significance of music in my life. This could be because I don't always seek it out, but I don't know. I finally got my mobile situation sorted. If you're not on my Twitter (which, most of you aren't), you probably won't know that I've been without a mobile for the better part of a month. It's been torture. But now that's sorted, I can be contacted at all hours. But, and more relevantly applicable to this conversation, I have music back in my life.

I loaded a few songs this morning and walked nearly half way to work, plugged in. That's when I realised that I had not rated highly enough how much I need music. My morning's Leith Walk soundtrack of rap and R&B was unorthodox (unorthodox cos I live deep in Proclaimers country) but thoroughly enjoyed. Madonna's 4 Minutes to Save the World (she's not rap nor R&B, but that genius beat is) takes on a new interpretation when you see all these people rushing for buses and women in business suits and trainers motoring on to work. They only got four minutes to save the world! 2Pac's How Do U Want It: could the guy at the sandwich shop be saying that to me? When T-Pain sang (on Kanye's song), "Welcome to the good life!", I was believing it, despite not being able to speak from the shouting on the weekend.

So when Macca asked me this question, it's thrown me into a lot of thought. What is the role of music in my life? I obviously need it, but when? And why? I've been working my thoughts out, actually in this very blog. What you see is the final, composed version, but it was kinda all over the place before. This is what my answer to those questions above would be.

I have always had be a cultural chameleon. What I mean by that is that I've always have been in situations that I had to assimilate into the predominant culture. As a result, I feel, at times, quite deficient in my own personal culture; I've even felt like a fraud. No matter how one terms it, you can end up quite lightheaded when you spend most of their time outwith your own culture. And I spend a lot of time in character. Times of emotional extremities are when it is most difficult to keep up the facade -- you'll really hear the American when I'm angry or really excited. I guess that's my base culture, what I am at my most elemental level. And black American culture, including rap, is that.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I come back, seeing this and thinking that

Dandoo has sent me more pictures of Bumpy. If anyone knows my sister, you'll know that the Bumps has her nose. And if any of you know me and Boy, we both had the same response: poor little bugger. In the second pic, Bumpy is showing an incredible amount of flexibility, with his/her foot right up near the face. A future gymnast in the family?


This was the weekend of the Scottish Open Volleyball Tourney in Perth and, yada yada yada, a good time was had by all. I even saw Tyreek! I can't remember if I told you, but I ended up meeting this guy in the blog last year and shared my suspicions that I thought he was black. I then renamed him Tyreek -- well, I saw him and he looks well, thanks.

My team-mate (and pal, by the way) Macca ended up giving me a lift home. She's really into her music and most days, she doesn't even turn the telly on, preferring to listen to the radio or music.

She had her boyfriend The Big Ging's iPod and the chat turned to our top ten songs. This was hard for me. I'm not as musical as her and I really couldn't come up with much off the top of my head. This is what I came up with, though:

  • Can you see me, Hendrix
  • Tramp, Redding
  • How do u want it?, 2Pac
  • It's not that easy, Lemar
I've noticed my choices are all by Black artists. I also tend to prefer women, though these choices aren't showing that. Why these songs? Well, with the first, Are You Experienced? was one of my most favourite albums for a long time and I always liked the guitar in this song. The second song is cos I always wanted to sing the woman's part in this duet and my guy to be able to sing the male part (though, this hasn't yet happened).

The third song, well... that's complicated. I like to listen to this song when I'm feeling a bit down. Which is a bit of an odd, cos it's not at all a nice song. Not a love song or happy or an uplifting message. It's a typical misogynistic, sex obsessed rap song. But I've liked it more so since moving here. The thing is, I would get my fill of good, decent and God-awful hip-hop and rap on my local radio station in the States. But I don't get that here. Not in the least. But I do like rap and I miss that part of the culture I'd get. So sometimes, when I'm feeling down and alienated, I listen to this song and it reminds me of the culture that I love, though flawed it is. And I don't feel so lonely.

And the fourth song? Me and Boy dance to that love song together in the kitchen, so it's got a happy connotation. Finally.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Looking for work

I like to look at the teaching job vacancies every week, for some reason. I guess it's because if I see the perfect job, then I'll be more than willing to pack this job in with a cheery "See ya, suckers!"

Unfortunately, I never see the perfect job. The perfect job is at the school 300 yards from my flat, in the same teaching position, full-time and permanent. And making more money. So really, looking is pointless, but I am an ever hopeful person.

The most recent posting only had one job in the primary (elementary) school sector. It was for a "deputising depute head teacher". To translate, a depute head teacher is a vice principal, American readers. Now a deputising depute head teacher, I'm not sure what the hell that is.

Boy suggested I apply, saying that I was the depute to a deputising depute head teacher and I was looking to make the next step. In actuality, I'm only deputising the depute to the depusting depute head teacher, so I would be very lucky to even get an interview.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My dental adventures

I made it through the wilderness
Somehow I made it through...

Since coming here, I've been complimented many times on my name. I always say, "Cheers, I'll tell my mum." Cos, really, like I had anything to do with. Recently, I've been complimented on something else: my teeth. Actually, I say complimented, but I don't know if you can really call it that. For example, I'm sitting in the middle of a really heavy conference with a parent, upset that she thinks her kid has dyslexia. I'm doing my part to reassure her. "Sorry," she says, "but you have the whitest teeth I've ever seen." I don't think I was complimented so much as she was startled into blurting this out. Let me assure you, it was embarrassment, not pride I was feeling.

Frankly, it's beginning to annoy me. I can't explain the teeth. That's just how they are, people. I'd like to say it's that I've done something special, but clearly I haven't. Cos my dentist came to me a couple of months ago saying I needed seven fillings. Seven fillings? Is that actually possible? Boy was shocked. "It's so weird, cos your teeth... they look so... perfect."

She said she would fit me into two sessions. Until she realised what I drill-phobic I was and kindly suggested we split the last session into two. The thing is, I've never been drilled and filled in such a way. The drill was rattling in the worse way in my ear. I was desperate for it to stop and she just wouldn't. Maybe it was rattling some sense into me. My teeth were decayed in some serious way and that fact started to dawn on me. This was it. There was nothing I could do to stop her. If only I had just been a bit more sensible. How I had fucked things up! I mean, who even needs seven fillings at one time? And then I began to cry. The pain had something to do with it, but mostly I was overwhelmed into tears by my own hubris ("What? Brush my teeth? Why? I'll have beautiful teeth forever!") and foolishness.

My last appointment was this past Friday. She was clearly disturbed by the meltdown I had had during my last appointment, but I insisted that we finished. There was no way I was going to come back and let that woman put those drills in my mouth again. When I had arrived at my appointment, I was greeted at reception with "Oh, the one with the beautiful name." Yeh, beautiful name, but fucked-up, decayed grill.