Now I really know I’m back in the UK: nothing works. Virgin Broadband died for 12 hours last night, leaving half of Brightonia (the half daft enough to have switched onto their lamentable service) with no phone or internet. Hmm, I wonder if we’ll get 12 hours’ line rental refunded. Of course the fuck not.
Then today, back online, I just spent almost an hour swimming through a complex online form for the DVLA, digging out obscure information and reference numbers, trying to update my ancient paper driving licence to one of those newer photocard ones. They say on the site that you can do the whole thing online, so I get right to the end, sigh with relief, hit ‘send’, then they say – “oh, now you have to post us a load of the same shite you’d’ve had to post if you hadn’t wasted half the morning on this daft computer faff.” You know scientists say sperm swim the equivalent of the Atlantic Ocean made of treacle, to get to the egg. Well the egg is a fuckload better reward than a poncy new driving licence. (the stuff I send includes my passport it seems – nerve-wracking given the DVLA’s pisspoor record on losing other peoples’ stuff) Especially frustrating because the form already made me give them all the details of that stuff, like my passport number. Christ, I hope it wasn’t a dodgy site!
I just finished a history of the English language which I can’t recommend highly enough. David Crystal’s The Stories Of English. He’s the shit – and he’d love that I just wrote that. I borrowed it from Mum & Dad after cruising their (headily extensive) bookshelves for a language history to suggest to a friend. Then I felt like I couldn’t recommend it without having a go myself and it’s outstanding – he totally changes how one perceives Standard English vs. dialects / informal spoken English. Rewrites a lifetime’s snobbery, to be honest.
My Dad is directing a play at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton this summer. It’s Ayckbourn’s Woman In Mind and it coincides perfectlywith Blissfields, so I’ll get to go. My Dad’s an ace director, especially Shakespeare which he adapts and gets people to really understand what they’re doing. The best Juliet I’ve ever seen, of any level of theatre, was a school production in the early 90s (I think) where the girl (she was probably only 14 or 15) totally owned the role. Can’t remember her name but it was incredible and no pro actor has ever topped it – even mighty princess of petulance Claire Danes ;o).
I’ve been thinking about writing a lot recently because I’m probably going to be a regular columnist for the first time (of which more another day) and my biggest weakness as a prose or text writer is inconsistency of style. I flail around from one paragraph to the next, in a similar way to speaking posher or commoner depending on the company. Sometimes I have no actual personality at all, just a complex mirror of whoever I happen to be talking to. If you could ever be bothered to read back through these blogs, one clear vibe you’d get is that they often feel like they’re written by a different person. Perhaps they are.
I’m going back on the road any day now, doing a blend of solo and band gigs, which is always a little weird because the guitar parts (and arrangements) are often almost the same but with a couple of tiny differences. Lord help me if I veer into a solo version halfway through a band performance.
Speaking of princesses, in an interview yesterday I was asked what CAPITAL was about and I replied “Kylie’s cancer… the victory of the Impossible Princess over the dreaded C.” Now I’m feeling pretty danm guilty about that response!