Thursday, May 25, 2006


I gave in today: microwaveable pasta for dinner. So terribly unsatisfying, despite Marks and Sparks' best efforts, but I haven't really the energy to contemplate cooking much. In a way it will be a welcome break standing around in Sainsbury's (M+S was a random departure from the norm) trying to concoct minimal fuss meals. In my first year I managed it by dint of seriously cheap microwaveable fisherman's pie type things and ham with veggies I could throw together into a salad. It was quite fun actually, my twice daily trip to sainsbury's (once to buy soup for lunch, and once to buy dinner -- one must maximise the time in the fresh air).

After over a month of pretending to work in my room but in reality falling asleep on the sofa and playing some seriously mindless and addictive computer games, I have finally in the last week before exams gained the will-power to plonk myself in the departmental library for the better part of the day (er, only 2 days so far, but I am hoping for a few more!). Followed often by a stint in caffe nero after an early dinner so it is not a totally rigorous scheme (it's not just me! there's this other girl who has done exactly the same work hours in the cafe the past two nights, we even both get a latte and a muffin to stimulate the brain cells, she must be a kindred spirit), I am quite incapable of the sort of dogged hermeticism some others have. But anyway finally I am putting in some hours that I consider vaguely respectable -- less than a week to exams! What great advances I can make in my zoological knowledge in another 5 days is highly dubious, and I am honestly worried because I really did waste time for about a month in a seriously grades-destructive manner, but there is no point regretting not working before the opportunity to work is fully past. The worst bit is comparing my pitiful work over the past few weeks to the last two years' exam prep -- but, again, that is pointless worrying, even if like most pointless worrying it is impossible to stop doing it.

I wish my mummy were here to cook me nutritious brainy food. :) But I suppose in light of actually being 21 I must give up such thoughts and content myself with the ready-to-eat section of the supermarket. Mum did send me twelve whole bottles of brand's essence of chicken though. Screw three years of diligent (?!) study, it is the essence of chicken that will get me my first!

Heh heh. If only superstitions were true.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bondage and Laughter

It has been one of those really unsatisfying days of work, but you really don't want to hear me moan about how boring yet frightening the whole exam situation is, so I will spare the world, and it is a good deed I say.

Despite ostensibly being at work all day (okay, more like all afternoon and then early part of the night, me being incapable of the 9 to 5 routine), I have managed to see two pieces of theatre as supposedly well-deserved breaks, though I'm not convinced I did deserve them.

Deborah Colker (a Brazilian contemporary choreographer) with her new show at the Barbican was amazing and if not particularly uplifting, at least it was entertaining, gasp-inducing and really rather sexy. The show was called 'Knots' and is quite rightly called the first ever bondage ballet. Lots of very lithe muscular dancers tying each other up, counterbalancing each other at impossible angles while attached by rope, bodily picking up trussed up companions to fling around in the air like so much lustful meat. It was acrobatic and terribly exciting to watch. Near the end of the first half a rope-less duet for two women amongst a forest of rope strands hanging down onto stage was one of the most beautiful moments in the whole show, following which two men and two women threw themselves into various piled up heaps, entangling and disentangling limbs and torsos only to entangle again. Set to Ravel, it was sexy rather than vulgar. In the second half the ropes disappeared, to be replaced by a huge Perspex box in and out of which dancers climbed like so many intent sexy monkeys. Much pressing against the perspex and dancing crazily around inside it.

In all it was a show which took innovative ideas and pushed right to the end with them in terms of the physical and visual boundaries of what you could possibly do, and the dancers were uniformly amazingly athletic, bendy, beautiful and bang on with every step. My two friends came away gushing and it certainly was an awesome sight, but I did feel there was something slightly missing which I couldn't quite pin down for a while. When I came home I read the reviews and they crystallised it for me -- it was a certain lack of innovative choreography, real new ways to move and new shapes to create that don't involve having to tie someone up first. I suppose it depends on whether you are looking for good dance, or good entertainment. I haven't anything to say against the latter (or I'd be far too snobbish for my own comfort), but the show did fall rather into the latter category. I've always been something of a purist as far as dance goes, and props while terribly exciting do cause you to neglect the actual dancing. Then again, Deborah Colker's shows are all prop driven (giant hamster wheels, stages littered with vases) I gather, so it is simply what she does, and she does it very well indeed, and I'd recommend anybody else to go see it if it turns up in your city.

Last night I went to see Simon Callow in Noel Coward's Present Laughter at the Arts Theatre. I'd not watched/read any Coward before, so I thought I would remedy the situation and rather thought I'd enjoy it -- and I did, tremendously! The plot is inconsequential really, it was all about perfect diction, sly innuendo, silk dressing gowns, flamboyant overacting, dashing arrogance you can't help loving, a neverending stream of one liners, and quite everybody falling in love with the protagonist. Loved it. Would love to see more Coward. It is a kind of entertainment that I sometimes feel a little premature in enjoying (my friend and I were sure we'd single handedly brought down the average age in the audience by a significant number of years), but I think I might as well resign myself already. (I listen to Radio 2, after all: jazz and showtunes, if that ain't old people music I don't know what is.) I've just skipped the whole drunken partying age and gone straight on to sparkling sophistication and maturity, ha ha!

Monday, May 01, 2006


Mostly want, actually, and then not even with any great conviction.

It being the month of my birthday here is a list of frivolity that I would like. I don't expect to get any of this. I'm just bored with revision! Waiting for the work related dreams to start -- when studying for A levels I think there was something subliminal about Giant Bouncing Phenols. Thank goodness it can only be about bird sex this time.

1. A first for my finals. Isn't it annoying when something you want can only be gotten through your own sheer hard work? You're so in control of the situation you only have yourself to blame if you don't get it.
2. Dive equipment - regulator system and BCD!
3. A sheep from market square (fluffy and wooden for the uninitiated, not actually bleating and edible). Not the hot pink one called Barbie.
4. Any DVD of a Mats Ek production. Actually any ballet/contemp dance DVD. Cloudgate theatre?
5. Tickets to the Royal Ballet's June 75th anniversary event, heh.
6. Errr.... er...
7. Man I am bad at wanting things ;)
8. Classical music CDs. No 'Ultimate cool classical compilation No. 2' PLEASE. Something solid. Some Brahms perhaps. Mozart/Puccini operas would probably also go down well. Anything goes, I own nothing but The Planets and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, I am pathetic. I am also partial to cello and piano music. I think.
9. A new dance poster?
10. Books, if you want to be boring but still appreciated! Maybe Ian McEwan (not Atonement or Saturday), or Jonathan Safran Foer's short story collection. I will read most things if they are not inspirational or nonfiction.
11. Pretty girly things will not be sneered at.

I think that is good enough, I am having lots of trouble with this! I am sorry the list turned out to be really rather useless in doing anything but reminding everybody that it's my birthday soon. ;) I tried. Ah, me and my unmaterialistic view of life. Love, contentment, and lots of parma ham is all I really want. Hah!