I am lying low at the moment. I am under a blanket. I feel distinctly blanket-ish.
I am doing a lot of reading. I have recently been reading William Morris’s very strange utopian novel News from Nowhere and H.G. Wells’ possibly even stranger Tono-Bungay. I am currently reading The Suburban Swindle a new book of short stories by an emerging US writer, Jackie Corley, which I am reviewing for Bookmunch. Next I will be reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell.
What I am not doing much of is writing. My blog has had a lot of extra traffic since being shortlisted for the Manchester Blog Awards, and whilst it’s great to have so many people stopping in for a visit it’s also strangely unnerving. It makes it harder to write things. I think I may be suffering from a case of “blogger’s remorse”. After all, it’s one thing to write a blog when you know that not many people (and certainly not many people you know in real life) are going to be reading it, but it’s quite another when lots of people (many of whom you know) are reading it, and having opinions about it, and you will also have to go out in public and acknowledge it as your own. My superego is going slightly crazy about all this (and ever since watching Slavoj Zizek’s “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema” recently, I can’t help envisioning my superego as looking like Groucho Marx, which makes it extra weird). It is barking a lot of words at me in a very loud voice. Some of the words are things like “ridiculous” and “stupid” and “inane” and “twee” and “annoying”. It’s basically telling me that everyone is going to point and laugh at me, and then I’ll do something hugely embarrassing, and probably that all my clothes will also somehow fall off as well, in a general nightmare-type way.
However, I am not going to be defeated by my superego, even if it does closely resemble Groucho Marx. In fact I am going to dare its disapproval, so just watch this space…
I really like these “advice to sink in slowly” posters designed by recent and emerging graduates of University College Falmouth for the purpose of passing on advice and inspiration to first year students. A poster is given as a welcome gift to every new student when they enrol, but anyone can buy them on the advice to sink in slowly website. I’ve just treated myself to one of their posters (which arrived accompanied by a beautiful double-sided print by David Mathews and Temujin Doran) but it was very difficult to choose just one from the selection of goodies on offer!
Posters shown are by Jane Laurie (“Be Yourself”), Temujin Doran (“Learn an Instrument”), Carys Williams (“Collaborate”) and Cat Hayward (“It Will Be Worth It”).
Autumn is really here now. I can smell it in the air. I like autumn. I like crispy early mornings, wearing boots and woolly tights, brisk walks, falling leaves, cosy jumpers and eating sustaining things like stew. I especially like that ‘back to school’ feeling of really getting down to business, a certain sense of purpose that comes along with the new stationery – fresh notebooks and really sharp pencils. It’s a good time of year.
I have to admit though that I’m not such a fan of the torrential rain we’ve been having of late. Or of the particularly unpleasant cold which has struck me down this week – I’m writing this from my sick bed. Still there’s worse things than lying around all day feeling slightly sorry for myself, eating soup, re-reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (the perfect book for chilly autumn afternoons), and looking forward to an evening of watching entertaining TV like ‘Dog Borstal’ in my pyjamas.
In other news I’ve got a review of Taking Pictures by Anne Enright up on the lovely Transmission blog at the moment where there are also lots of other good things. Check it out here.
Some good news to brighten up a particularly grey and damp Manchester day – this blog has been shortlisted for the Manchester blog awards! It’s been nominated for the categories of ‘best new blog’ and ‘best personal blog’. Hurrah!
And hurrah also to all the other excellent blogs which have been shortlisted for this year’s awards, and especially some of my personal favourites – nine chains to the moon, every day I lie a little, chicken and pies, diary of a bluestocking and quit this pampered town.
You can check out the full shortlist here or there’s also a list here on delicious, though I have to admit I’m still not entirely sure quite what that is.
I am an observer.
I like sitting in the window of a small cafe watching the world go by – and noticing people with particularly pretty shoes. I like sitting on the bus in the morning looking out at the rain, the changing leaves, the people just beginning their day, the shops opening, the city coming to life beyond the fog on the window. I like walking home just as dusk is falling, when the lights in the houses are switched on but the curtains aren’t yet shut, catching passing glimpses of the warm yellow-lit portraits of other people’s lives. I can’t resist taking a sneaky peek into other shopper’s trolleys at the supermarket checkout just to see what they are buying.
Most of all, I like noticing the smallest things, the things that no one else seems to be noticing (and I also like reading about the small things others have noticed and noted here and here).
Perhaps I’m just very nosy but it’s amazing the things you notice when you start looking.
For example, at Carluccio’s in Smithfield, London for breakfast on Sunday, I noticed…
… a Roman Catholic priest in full regalia, popping in for a quick cappuccino, presumably between masses. I’m not sure what kind of a priest he was but he had a fancy black hat with a little tassel, which naturally he removed to drink his coffee.
… two genuine pearly kings with ‘Crystal Palace’ embroidered on their jackets accompanied by two pearly queens in feathery hats perusing the olives in the deli before climbing into a silver Fiat and driving away.
… an extremely small schnauzer having what looked like a very exciting adventure.
… a girl with spiky hair and leggings looking equally intrigued by all this and asking everyone if she could take photographs of them.
… a group of quite silly people becoming a bit uproarious because they had noticed that the description of the mushroom risotto on the specials board appeared to read ‘fresh, wild and erotic mushrooms’ as opposed to ‘fresh, wild and exotic mushrooms’. Actually, that was us.