So here I am, watching the Strictly results show on iplayer and blogging... on my phone. Yup, tonight I am having an IT meltdown, what with "netty" having a proper hissy fit and my work laptop chucking me off the net left, right and centre.
So it looks like it is time to fork out for a new computer, which I guess I should be pretty pissed off - and stressed - about. But you know what? I don't really mind because, at the end of the day, there are more important things to worry about.
The last two weekends have been so lovely. Last week Mama and Papa Berry were here, and today I waved goodbye (whilst running down the platform as their train pulled off!) to my bestie and her man. It was another great weekend, drinking, shopping and tapping into our inner child at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, drinking, riding the cable car over to Greenwich, eating and, er drinking some more. We had a blast - and once more I was sad to see people I love disappear back up north.
Whilst money can be tight, what is important to me right now is seeing the people I love - and making sure I catch up with them all in the run-up to Christmas. So tonight, not only have I been cursing my tech, but I've been texting my mates to make sure I see them all before the year is out - and, if that can't happen, I've been getting dates in the diary for 2015.
Guys, see you soon...
Yep, it's Sunday evening and I'm here as usual, blogging away. It's been a busy week, what with my frantic attempts to finish decorating the hall (STILL not quite done) and a visit from Mama and Papa Berry. It was lovely to see them both and show off my new abode to my ma, who had yet to visit, and to my pa, who has only seen it in the light of a decorator.
On Saturday I was treated to a West Show, this time The Lion King. Whilst I was impressed by the singing, dancing and puppetry, I admit I wasn't blown away. As my ma pointed out, the story was a little one-dimensional, but I think it was something else that really bugged me. I couldn't help but wonder how an African would see the Westernized, Disney-fied interpretation of their country. What would they make of the sanitized version of the vibrant outfits I saw when I visited Kenya, or the semi-clad actors and supporting dancers who seem to play to that tired, old stereotype that black people are, like women, little more than sex objects?
I wonder if my discomfort came from a conversation I had earlier that week about the way we describe people from different ethnic groups. Whilst I understand that to the older generation the label "coloured" was once much more acceptable than the term "black", I had to point out that it basically puts anyone who isn't "white" into the same ethnic group - essentially lumping together anyone who isn't Caucasian as the other. Whilst I accept that not all people mean to be derogatory when they use the word, when you look under the surface, it screams of notions of white supremacy. Not pretty.
But then, who am I to judge? In my day job, I spend a lot of time telling people how they should behave and what they should do to improve their lives - people who are often from a different class, ethnic background and generation to me. Whilst my colleagues and I work hard to make a positive difference, I wonder if we always listen to the people we are supposed to be helping - and whether we truly welcome and take on board their views.
So when I attend my evening meeting tomorrow, I'm going to make a conscious effort to really listen to what people are saying - and do my best to ensure that their views are taken into consideration in the follow-up work that we do. I like to think that I already do this. but if I'm brutally honest, I wonder if I'm just kidding myself, and I ask anyone who reads this to let me know if they think that I am - and perhaps to take stock of their own practice and views when dealing with people who are different from themselves.
Dharlings! Lovvies! How wonderful to see you again! Aren't I fabulous?! Mwah, MWAH!!
...it doesn't work, does it? Okay, maybe if I was a published author with a deal at the White Cube, I could get away with being up my own arse. But, even if I was on the Bestseller's List and able to sell my unmade bed for millions (Ah! Just had a great idea for that pile of washing up...), I'd like to think that I wouldn't become one of those pretentious eejits.
Yep, you guessed it, something is on my mind.
On Thursday, I went to the Open Studio event at Wimbledon Art Studios. My mate Laura shares a studio there, and I could think of no better way to spend my evening other than quaffing wine, gossiping with my mate and enjoying some art. I admit, I thoroughly enjoyed my chinwag with Laura and her studio buddy Bea and made the most of the free bar (yes, I have no shame), but, whilst some of the art was pretty impressive, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed, confused even. Why? Well, because whilst some of the artists were incredibly welcoming and chatty (and a handful forgivably shy), others almost seemed to resent giving members of the public access to their work. Several times I wandered into a studio to be greeted by a group talking loudly as they sipped their sauvignon. Fine, I guess. I can even forgive those who didn't say hello. But those who refused to acknowledge my presence or, worse still, gave me a contemptuous look before returning their valuable attention to their cronies - sorry, but I have no time for them. Especially those who huddle by their door so you can't even get bloody in...
I just can't understand artists who take themselves so seriously. It spreads into the other arts, too. Many a time I have seen a band play live who I loved, only to be left cold by their refusal to interact with the crowd - yet been delighted by others who openly show their respect and gratitude to their audience. Yesterday I went to the theatre to see The Play that Goes Wrong and, whilst it isn't my usual cup of tea, it was refreshing to see thesps having a bit of fun and basically taking the mick out of themselves.
So guys, do me a favour; never take yourself too seriously, no matter how successful you are. And, if I ever win the Booker or even the Turner Prize, please tell me if I become a pompous dick. Because it really isn't very becoming...
Yep, you guessed it - it's my birthday and I've been to Berlin! And, as I'm busy recovering and relaxing with a glass of red, I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
It was completely by coincidence that I ended up there on the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, as well as Rememberance Sunday, and it was all the more poignant because of this - the Holocaust Memorial even more haunting and the East Side Gallery all the more inspiring. The original position of the wall was mapped out with a line of white balloons, and projectors showed a film detailing the historical moment at key locations across the city. I admit that,as a little girl celebrating my 10th birthday, I didn't really understood what all the fuss was about when it happened, but now,as an adult, it renders me speechless to think that so many people were essentially prisoners of the Communist regime - and many died trying to escape.
Along with my 35th birthday, the weekend turned out to be one of reflection - personally and politically. But it was also one full of inspiration and exploration - all the more enjoyed with a German beer and good company to hand.
I might not be a Berliner yet, but I think I'll be back.
Yes, it's another late-night blog after a pretty hectic weekend. In case you didn't already guess, I've been to see Evita and today went to a seminar about - wait for it - dating. Yes, really. In my defense, my main reason for going was for research (still working on my podcast/article/youtube piece on the subject) but admit that there was some personal benefit. Okay, so a lot of it was about men, but the basis of the talk was how to get what you want from life, whether that be a new career or a new relationship.
Eva Peron was a woman who did what she had to do to get where she wanted to be, morally or otherwise. According to the musical, she essentially used men to get to the top and her working-class background to gain the adoration of a nation - with the added benefit of the riches that came with being the first lady of Argentina. Having read a few books on finding Mr Right (research people, honest!), I have to say that some tactics suggested seem a little bit manipulative. I mean, asking a guy if you can use his phone just to start a conversation? Persuading him to help you pick a birthday present for an imaginary brother? Sorry, but no - if I'm going to find Mr Right, I'm going to do it my way. And that means cutting the crap.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to text that young man I met last week and remind him how fabulous I am. What I won't be telling him is that I've been singing Andrew Lloyd Webber songs all weekend...
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...