Friday, 24 July 2009

Other activities

In the spirit of doing things I don't normally do, I have put something I have written where people might actually see it. I have written a post for the lovely Stuart Waterman of Lucky Voice for their blog - here it is on their website.
Fame at last!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Week 10: #33 Go to a music festival

For someone who loves her live music as much as I do, it may come as a surprise that I have very little time for music festivals. I have only been to two 'proper' ones in my life, one of which was only on during the night so we went home during the day and showered and changed and ate, which is kind of cheating, really. It was in Spain, so the nights were balmy and you could get away with just wearing a t-shirt, and it didn't rain, which suits me all over. The other festival experience was The Big Chill which fits with my middle-class sensibilities. I enjoyed it, but mostly because I made my boyfriend at the time pack the inflatable mattress and duvet - I am a rubbish camper. And while the music was good, and the company fun, I also managed to get sunstroke on the first day. Imagine queuing for those Portaloos when you can't keep anything down - not even water, seriously. Or lying in a tent with your head throbbing and the ceiling spinning and knowing there are countless guy-ropes between you and somewhere to be sick in the pitch black of night.

I think it's a couple of things that put me off festivals, mostly that I am not good with crowds. While I love the feeling of being in the middle of an audience at a gig, it's having them around when you want to eat, or go to the loo, or just GET anywhere, that gets to me. I think it's something to do with the claustrophobia I keep under control most of the time - this big group of people control what I can and can't do just by their sheer number. This is why Notting Hill Carnival would be SHEER HELL for me.

So, I cheat and go to one-day festivals in London. I get to decide when I leave, I get to sleep at home - everyone's a winner. Yesterday we (my friend Kate and I) went to Lovebox in London's glamorous Victoria Park in trendy (*cough*) Hackney. It was a good day, though I could have done without the rain halfway through, and being particularly tired after another busy week. We got there just in time for VV Brown, who was really very good, and then wandered over to the smaller stage to watch MPHO (who I still don't know how to pronounce) who was also soulful and really owned the stage. There we bumped into a colleague from work, Simon, and his friend Kristen, who was very pleasant. We then just headed back to the main stage for the rest of the day, where we chatted through Rumble Strips, bopped along to Florence & The Machine (who looked BRILLIANT), tutted at N*E*R*D getting all the pretty ladies onstage to dance with them, and cheered and bounced and sang along to Duran Duran, who I don't think have aged in the last twenty years.

There were a few problems with the day - I was aware that I had other friends I was supposed to find but mobiles weren't working properly, so we kept missing each other. The toilets were rubbish, and having urinals in the middle of banks of toilets meant that there were lots of blokes weeing very close to you when you were queuing - drunk blokes, at that. And the crowd was just a bit trendy for my liking - one more pair of neon sunglasses, and I swear they would have been stamped on.

So I am glad I went, but even gladder that I wasn't at Latitude this weekend in the rain - imagine camping in this...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Oh, and another thing...

I have arranged my skydive for 21st August. I am doing it to raise money for Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research, so feel free to sponsor me here:

Week 9 - #34 Write the first chapter of my novel (sort of)

There's a common view that there's a novel in everyone just waiting to get out. Talk to anyone who works in fiction publishing and they will tell you that this is rubbish - think of some of the worst fiction you've read (and I have read some trashy stuff in my time) and then think of the stuff that was worse than that which had to be waded through and rejected by slush pile readers. Yes, people are employed solely to read through the unsolicited manuscripts that the publishing houses get.

So a number of times I have been told that I should write something (she said, modestly) - this is mostly because I am very verbose, especially via e mail. In fact, I am an awful lot better by e mail than I am on the phone - it's just much more the environment that I enjoy. This means that my friends easily get pissed off with me for not phoning, which is completely understandable. I will try to be better at that this year as well, I promise.

I often have ideas for novels that are mostly in the 'chick lit' vein - it's probably easy to think of these ones, as they tend to be formulaic. I always get stuck on the endings though - I have never been a good finisher of most things, but especially stories. But recently I found a good idea for a book - a novel about an obsessive relationship. A bit dark, a bit creepy - certainly more literary than anything I've thought about doing before.

So I've written some of it. Not much, just the opening scenes, and I've kind of worked out a plot. Except the ending. Always the damn ending that eludes me.

Of course, the next step would be to show people and see what they think. That's the hard part really - like holding your newborn up to the world and getting a bunch of critics to give it marks out of ten for attractiveness. Add into this my general lack of confidence in my skills and the fact that I have three talented siblings - a sister high up in fiction publishing, one brother who's a journalist and another brother who won a scholarship for his creative writing - and, well, it's not looking likely to ever be shown to anyone. Maybe after I have written the next chapter. And if anyone wants to tell me how it should end, that would be great.