Hello, I’m not posting very much at the moment because I’m trying to force myself to edit; this is resulting in a lot of tantrum-throwing on Twitter and one-sided arguments with myself which sadly cannot be won by shouting “you’re not my real dad” and slamming a door. The process of editing is not being helped by the weather being blindingly nice and making me long to go and sit in a park and drink wine and not edit; by Word Starter on my netbook being held together with glue and stupidity and therefore crashing every few minutes; and by my own self-sabotaging need to start trying to draw bad cartoons of Loki from The Avengers crying on the floor at 1am with a copy of Photoshop 7.0 which only works after you’ve opened it and closed it three times (while drinking and watching 90s movies, because I am a cool cat).
I do have plans for partaking of the 100 Blog Things challenge on the subject of the Arts, but every day that I think “I shall write my first blog post on this challenge” is a day when I reach 1am and still haven’t finished editing whichever chapter I’m working on.
So as a show of faith or an “I ain’tnt dead”, here’s a brief run-down of Things What I Have Been Doing:
- A visit to the Natural History Museum to see the inside-out animals; plastinated animal bodies showing their capillaries (which looks astonishing and very artistic, like someone has grown a duck or a rabbit out of some delicate, vibrant red fern) or musculature and ligaments, the crowning glory of which are a pair: a running giraffe and a kind of three-dimensional exploded diagram of a female Asiatic elephant, which is made all the more exciting for being an actual elephant. My main criticism of this other than “not enough exhibition” which I would have said even if it had been the length of the Bayeux Tapestry (which I have seen and been enormously bored by), is that as with so many museum exhibitions, the level of information provided was decidedly entry-level. As remarked by my companion for the day, scientist-and-comedian-and-designer-and-general-polymath Holly Yagoda, if you know anything about biology it’s assumed that you don’t want to learn any more by coming to a museum.
- That same day out also included a walk through Hyde Park and a walk through St James Park, the latter of which involved an encounter with some wildfowl that I was unable to identity. Roughly the sound of a small goose/large duck, with a ruddy patch in the middle of a white breast, a very narrow black bar across a white area of the wing, dark head, and a cry like a car that won’t start. Any ideas?
- I’ve been reading The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. Another of Mary Renault’s books, The Charioteer, is one of my absolute favourites, and so I went into this with high expectations. As someone overly invested in the relationship between Alexander of Macedon and Hephaestion I find I’m irritated by the attitude of the narrator (shut up, Bagoas), but it seems very realistic of the character to behave and think that way considering the kind of person he is and life he has led. I have no criticisms to level at the author for this historical fiction, but my God I want to slap the narrator a lot.
- Continuing the theme of science, last night I accompanied a couple of people to see Robin Ince’s current stand up show, Happiness Through Science. I have seen several of his various tours and rank him close to the top of my favourite comedians list, if not the number one slot. I’d describe his style as “manic”, peppered with impressions and tangents and excitement and cynicism. A self-styled curmudgeon, he actually comes across as being extremely warm and enthusiastic (as many self-styled curmudgeons tend to), brimming with knowledge he wants to share, and of course appropriately self-effacing (we are after all British). It is always pleasant to spend an evening being talked to as an intelligent adult rather than a fool or a child, and more so when explanations for things one might not already know are presented as “things I didn’t know, I don’t know if you know them, you probably already do”. Stand out moments included Robin interrupting himself to wail “I wish this was a fucking character!” of his own babbling and self-distraction, and a member of the audience towards the end standing up to offer an evidence-based heckle about the correct order of amino acids in a genome. That is the kind of audience one can expect at a Robin Ince gig.
- Aside from being a consumer of entertainment and enjoyer of this sudden burst of sunshine, I have also been patiently trying to rein in my propensity for feeling guilty about reading things I enjoy “because I ought to be doing something else”. So far it’s not going very well.