Christmas mix tapes. Family crises. Phonecalls from father. Work christmas parties. The post office smell of desperate lateness. Demanding of London. Depressed of Plymouth. Things I've been saving. Things I've been wanting. The stress of ordering, arranging, addressing. Friends I've forgotten and friends I've remebered. Tangram schedules that fold me in pieces. Illness, drunkenness; me being careless. Broken lights. Digging out tights. Cold knees, needing new trousers. Things falling down in the middle of the night. Everyone not seen, not sent-to. The people who walk into you hard enough to hurt.
On Monday I went to The Courtyard in Bicester to teach young people the photoshopping skills they'll need in their future life; Tuesday we went to see Electric Six, who played a lot of rock stuff we were supposed to remember from their previous band and covered Radio Ga-Ga, in the Oxford Town Hall, as well as the implausibly beautiful Kid Symphony and decidedly stern Little Nikita; Wednesday I went to the V&A to exchange gifts with my contact sister, drink a champagne cocktail, and listen to Vox Chordis sing carols to the Raphael cartoons; Thursday we cowered in the front seat of the Oxford Odeon for a rowdy show of Return of the King; Friday I went to the Zodiac for regular Oxford bands party Your Song, where we got to hear a death metal version of I can't get you out of my head so evil it gave the lead singer a nose-bleed (among other stuff).
Saturday didn't go so well. I suppose my first mistake was having a vodka and ice at the Zodiac. Usually I only get a bit of a bad stomach after consuming their water, but this time I woke up feeling a bit grimmish (put it down to the booze) and as the day progressed got steadily worse. As usual I went to the Oxfam Bookshop in the afternoon (yes, I volunteer, I like books, OK?) only to find that it was only me, magnificent Betty, manager Lilley and the Con* in the shop this afternoon. Betty's on the till as usual; I'm feeling really quite grim by this stage so I crawl into the pricing room to price children's books. After the Con brings a couple of problems to my attention, I ask him where Lilley is. She's nipped out, he tells me. Fine, I think she'll be back soon enough -- she can't have gone far, she didn't even tell me where she was going. Or Betty, I discover, after she's been gone for about 40 minutes. She's off Christmas shopping, of course, leaving me minding the Con. Meanwhile, I'm getting sicker. I've gone off the edge of sensible by the time she gets back, so I stick around till we close instead of going home right away. Going home gets very interesting, but I make it without throwing up on the bus, and collapse on my bed. Later, Damian turns up to take my shoes off. The rest of the night is pretty nasty. The moral of this story? Just like it says in my Dentist's big book of better smiles -- don't eat ice cubes.
*Most of the local Oxfam shops in our area are also helping to rehabilitate prisoners.