The Morning After The Night Before

Ok, so I didn’t get up until about 12pm. But I thought I’d take advantage of the subdued contemplation that seems to fill the air today, the morning after the night before.

One thing has occurred to me today – something I feel may explain a rather hungry gap inside my psyche – perhaps my dawdling mind’s submission to the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ is something to do with the fact that, for quite a few years now, I have not been very close with my dad.

Dad and I used to do things together. We disassembled and reassembled computers, studying all the parts, we dug and filled ponds (not just with water, but our very own micro-cultures of weeds and wildlife), we trekked up mountains and he’d tell me (sigh-worthy at the time) stories of his favourite memories that had just been jogged, we picked up dead creatures and fungus and inspected them, we discovered. And when I lived with him, he would be there to answer questions. Whenever they came up for me. If he was at work, I’d ask him later. We would always eat together (He was pretty strict on that point, and having been fed up with the autonomy then, it is a habit I now deem worth taking advantage of while you have it in your power to eat together. The phrase “You’ll thank me later” springs to mind, funnily enough, like everything else that is appearing in my life in twos at the moment. Oh, parental clichés.) We would discuss things; something I always found engaging and fruitful until it started to involve my performances. Something a little too personal there. I have never been good at taking criticism and instead tend to defend mercilessly my clearly rough first drafts of anything. If it’s good enough for me, it’s finished and infallible…

Anyway, I believe that I was far more mentally active when I was little. Maybe it changed when my brother came along and my dad had two little minds to fascinate and befriend. Maybe it happened when I moved away from home. Maybe when I finished my education and moved into full-time work. Disillusionment aside, a lot has changed since I was three years old and had time in a day to demand to be thrown in the air and swing between my dad’s legs, to make a painting with some glue and pasta, to trip to the park and get disproportionately jealous of someone else’s Ribena, despite not even liking it, (Sorry, Mum) to get on with climbing trees when older girls were getting bothered about boys, to write down everything I did in that day because it assumed to be worth an illustrated story. To watch and ponder Chorlton and the Wheelies.

Image from Talkback Thames

I miss these days, but things have changed and they most likely won’t come again. I am going to have to find other ways to re-instill my habits of curiosity and discovery. Time moves on, and whether we’re staggering along behind it or fresh and ready for what’s to come, it’s up to you to keep track of where you are and where you want to be.

Procrastinating like a student

On holiday from work to do the show this week, and somehow I am at a loss for what to do with myself. Daytrips and fun stuff are on the back burner and I am holing myself up each day until it’s time to drag outside into the darkness for rehearsals.

Today’s non-task was sorting through my CDs and DVDs. Sorting empty cases, missing discs, unwanteds, etc. This is what happened.

The cases of all the DVDs that Someone stole, that I have finally given up the ghost on and turned inside out for reuse, in a gesture towards moving on.

What sort of freak books paid holiday to do this?

Swimming the channel

Thinking about the relevance of my current task of learning to channel emotions. As someone who has acted in some way since she was little; put on puppet shows in my grandparents’ house at Christmas, told stories with my new friends on holiday in the Canaries while our parents watched, smirking, I have always been vaguely conscious of the ‘switch’ that we can turn on and off. That chameleon switch that every mentally healthy human being has that lets you adapt to your environment. Whatever company I was in, from childhood, I would learn it and mimic it. I would sit in front of the TV for hours at a time and then wander round the house singing inane bars of advert music that I had remembered, bonding with my little brother when he recognised it and joined in. Our little in-jokes that were accessible to the world, just not our mum.

It goes without saying that acting requires this ability to learn and repeat; to have a large arsenal of developed, detailed emotional memories sitting behind an open door. Sounds kind of dangerous. Of course, the other part of that essential quality is being able to turn it on and off. To ‘channel’, lead those emotions through your body to help it do its job on the outside for a capped amount of time, afterwards letting it go back to its cupboard under the stairs and sitting back down on an uncreased seat of mental stability, unaffected by the power you have invited in.

So, are good actors the healthiest minds the world has? To achieve a state of confidence in my own emotional independence, do I need rave reviews for a Rory-Bremner-style impressionist one-woman show? Do I just waitress, perfecting the fourteen tables’ worth of adapted persona-per-customer? I could just get a dog, of course.

Back to Books with You #2: City Screen Sky Lounge

There are some very good films out right now. I urge you to go and see them, and get there early so you can spend some time reading in the Sky Lounge while you’re waiting.

Granted, I have more time in there than the Average Joe (although we have one of those there too, and I’m sure he’d agree with that description) and you might argue the elitism of this choice. However, it is not out of your way to fit in two different creative feeds in an afternoon, and the ambience of the sky lounge is perfect for the avid reader. If, like me, you are easily distracted, you might have trouble here; however if you pick something exciting to read that you can easily drift in and out of, you will be perfectly suited to this little haven of peace that overlooks a wide stretch of the River Ouse, and howls and flutters in the rigorous wind that we’ve had so much of recently. With the elements (and pidgeons) so closeby, there is a comforting, cosy kind of freedom felt in this space.

Here, on a dark night, with the wind battling the huge glass panes next to me, I enjoyed this story for the first time.

Picture courtesy of

And if you need a hand deciding what to go and wait for, I would highly recommend The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

2011 in review

Might as well, ey? I’m sitting in my social-intellectual package with hungover housemates and friends, napping and playing video games and just being in each other’s company. Chocolate and Disney will be our main goals today.

I am against resolutions in the form of recycled guilt-induced unmotivations. I am all for reassessment and reprioritisation, and the refreshed feeling of freedom to change our minds and our lives.

Here’s a little look back at Darcy Isla’s 2011 from the stats helper monkeys:

An excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.