Monday, 30 November 2009

Apple Wednesday

It's finally happened. I'm officially an iPhone widow! After 2 years of patiently waiting for Apple to release O2's greedy claws from their exclusive contract, The Partner has finally got his hands on the sleek black accessory of his dreams. You'd think there would be days, weeks, even months of planning how, when and where he was going to get hold of this gadget of beauty. But, no. We were wandering into town on Saturday, when he casually announced "I just want to pop into that Orange shop on the way". Sure thing, I said, little realising that half an hour later he would be walking out of the shop, having signed on the dotted line, with an actual iPhone in his hand!

One of The Partner's friends called while we were "doing the deed" and, on hearing what we were up to, immediately hotfooted it to the Orange shop so he could paw over the gadget of delight himself. I'd always thought The Friend's eyes were brown but on that day they had a definite tinge of green to them.

For the last few days it seems every conversation has featured the words "wifi", "app", "iPhone" and "my baby". This latter term used to be reserved solely for me but it seems I have been replaced. In fact, yesterday, during a viewing of Inglourious Basterds (fantastic film) at The Friend's house, The Partner had a near panic attack when he momentarily misplaced his baby. The relief on discovering said baby in his pocket was audible, if not deafening, and he spent the entire rest of the film with one arm round my shoulders and the other carefully protecting the sacred pocket.

Although an iPhone widow I may be, it's somehow hard not to be impressed by the myriad features, functions and apps that this baby can handle. My grandparents' heads will surely explode if we try to demonstrate these over Christmas lunch. I can just imagine the confusion - "why on earth would you want to use your phone as a lightsaber?" So, a widow I may feel, but my eyes seem to be turning a little green with envy too, and only one question now remains: When will the baby, I mean the iPhone, be available on Vodafone?

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Watch The Birdie!

I've been struggling to decide what to write about this week, hence the slight delay. I could write about the painful experience of making myself go to my drawing class on Thursday, only to find halfway through that my inner critic had firmly taken over my brain, shouting obscenities about how rubbish I am and that I'll never be able to draw: I came home in tears. I could write about the led primary class that our yoga teacher gave on Sunday morning, complete with Q&A session about the traditional method of Mysore style Ashtanga, which was very inspiring and really got me thinking about trust, surrender, dedication and our intrinsic search for meaning in our lives.

I could write about all the bad news I've heard this week: people suffering from emphysema, lung cancer, a brain tumour; relationships on the rocks; people in pieces. Or about my job interview. Or about another song I wrote. Or I could write about a weekend away at my grandparents' which left me full of nostalgia, sadness and talk of wills.

But I won't. Instead I'm going to write about birds. Starlings to be precise. Over the West Pier in Brighton. If you've never seen this incredible spectacle, I urge you to take a walk along he promenade at dusk and just take a moment to observe what I can only describe as a stunning natural phenomenon. It really is a sight for sore eyes. Hundreds of tiny winged wonders dancing through the sky as a single, magical entity. They appear to glide effortlessly on the breeze, almost disappearing from view, then suddenly swoop off at top speed in a dark black cloud, as if someone's tugging an invisible string to which they're all attached. It rather reminds me of that scene in Finding Nemo when Nemo and Dory meet the shoal of fish. Any moment I expected the starlings to suddenly form themselves into an arrow or a grumpy face.

And it's not just me who finds this winter murmuration (ooh hark at me) so breathtaking. Hoards of people gather along the seafront to witness this acrobatic display and even the pigeons and seagulls know it's something of a special occasion and seem to want in on the action.

So, another busy week in the life of the Seaside Scribbler then, but the avian beauties win the vote hands (or should that be wings?) down. These birdies really are worth watching....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Remember My Name

Oh ye gads (as they say in Oz)! I've just realised I completely omitted to title my last 2 blog posts, which is very sloppy work indeed and simply won't do. So I've gone back and given them shiny new titles - hope you like them. Now what to call this one....

I don't mean to turn this into a blog about dancing but I do feel compelled to write about last night's class. It was just Janine this time as Avis was away ("working" or some such excuse) and, to quote the Blockbuster Video jingle, Wow what a difference! Her teaching style is so much better, although I can't quite put my finger on why. I think it all comes down to confidence and good time management. Avis seems to want to put music to every warm-up exercise, which involves teaching us the move, practising it, then doing it with the music (just for warm-ups!), and she also says things like "Is that kind of ok with everyone? Have you sort of got that?" after every move. So the warm-ups take about 45 minutes leaving us only 15 minutes actual dance time.

However, Janine seemed much more confident in her approach and got us doing completely different exercises, more in tune with what I consider the classic image of a dance class, i.e. leaping and jumping across the room in pairs as if we were in Fame! One such exercise involved us imagining we were in a low tunnel, so we had to move across the floor in as many ways as we could think of without standing up. I felt like a swimmer, a gymnast and a slug all rolled into one. We also had more time to build on our little sequence, involving us all coming together in a big circle and doing some hokey cokeyesque moves, plus a great hip sliding floor move at the end which is definitely straight out of Fame.

In other news, my best achievement of the week, or rather month - I wrote a song! Yes, my first ever actual song. I'm so chuffed. I borrowed a friend's keyboard and to my great surprise I discovered I've actually retained some of the Grade 2 piano skills I learnt 20 years ago. Clever little brain. Yesterday I had a meeting with a guy I'm doing a skill swap with to work out what our 4 sessions of vocal and songwriting coaching should cover. So watch this space (or should that be listen to this space?) Anyway I'm dead excited. Yay!

P.S. Did you see what I did there with the title? It's a lyric from the Fame theme tune you see, but it's also a reference to forgetting to title my posts. See? Clever, huh?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Sponge Me To Hell

My last 7 days seem to have been rather action-packed: from cuddling a newborn baby; watching horror films on Hallowe'en (Dario Argento's 1977 masterpiece Suspiria & Sam Raimi's 2009 hilarious Drag Me To Hell); and venturing to the seafront, fully waterproofed, to frolic in a storm; to learning a new dance move (the Dame Judi); being deafened by bangers at Lewes Bonfire; and signing on.

Yes, that's right, signing on. I've finally succumbed to sponging off the government. I did attempt to do this back in February, but received some very confusing communications and mixed messages. The claim was denied but I never really knew if this was because I'd left my job voluntarily, was living with a partner or hadn't paid enough NI contributions (what, after 10 years of working my butt off in an office? Come on!) Anyway, for whatever reason, I wasn't given any help and felt somewhat let down by the system I'd been pouring money into for years. There was also a sense of relief, though, in not having to spend time and energy every fortnight trying to prove I was looking for a job I didn't want.

However, now that I've tried again (well, 9 months is rather a long time to be "between jobs"), I've been pleasantly surprised. Not only has my claim for Jobseeker's Allowance gone through this time, but the friendly advisor I spoke to actually considered my desire to become a freelance writer/copyeditor/proofreader a valid career path. This means I can now spend my time and energy looking for work that I do want and get paid (a bit) for it in the process. Result!