June 15th, 2003


7DW Thursday - Shopping at lunchtime/The end of Buffy

The sun is shining so we take our sandwiches to the Thursday market. Actually, it has nothing to do with the sun. We walk round it in the rain. In the snow. But today the sun is shining, that watery uncertain sun that shines before the weather becomes sure of summer. There are faded silk scarves on the cushion cover stall, the big ones that go with a salwar kameez, woven with a raised pattern of branches and flowers, every complex colour you could easily think of and more. I leaf through them, look at that blue, that gold, that silver that orange. The price is good but I already have too many fabrics I can't use for anything right now in my tiny house. So I regretfully leave them. Another person will buy them and be glad. On the retro clothes stall, long A-line skirts in huge floral patterns; I'm looking at them because my first Sindy doll had one but the one I remember belonged to my mother, except it was orange, turquoise and brown, not navy, white and pink. On the other side of the stall, I hesitate over a very modern art shirt. Polyester Mondrian squares, and broad enough for my unfashionable shoulders. I leave it, too hot, too white. Outside the costumes place a plastic anatomical model of a head, one of those where you lift the top of the head off and remove the brain, bit by bit. The flip top and most of the brain is missing; I poke suspiciously at the brain stem and the lady shouts £5! at me. I shake my head and put it down, too much to pay for least functional parts of the head. On the stall with all the hand-carved creatures there are little ceramic scotty dogs, hinged at their ridiculously slender waists, pill-boxes, the man says they are. After I finally stop laughing I buy one, £1 he says, because they're bizarre and strange. My hinged dog. Enthusiasm fired by my lucky escape from the market, I duck into Bradleys on the way back to the office. For years this has been one of my favourite shops in town, stocking fillers and tiny gifts and toys and decorations and things that glow or sparkle or glitter or jingle or hop or just look neat. It's closing and I've been meaning to go in there and spend £20 on all I could find of everything I'd always meant to get round to buying from them. Damian gives up while I'm still going through the beads (a tiny green cat's head, cracked blue glass hearts) and I grab a little tray and move from stand to stand, find little iridescent lucite acorns, red glass hearts tied with gold ribbon, strangely technical looking christmas stars decorated with wire and springs (good for the Cybercaption exhibition, maybe?) a traditional magic purse with Victorian-style pictures on it, twenty little wooden ladybirds and a creepy reindeer with shiny gold eyes that looks like he's made (at least in part) from real deer, just the right size for my little soldier doll to ride. And when I take it to the till, I've not even spent £10, never mind £20. Maybe next week.

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  • Current Music
    radiohead - drunken punch-up at a wedding

7DW Friday - lucky fire alarm/Tom shows me the story diagram

I'm being ditzy at my programmer when there's an incredible crash from outside. Three stories down out on that busy junction someone's crashed into something they shouldn't have and of course as soon as he's off the phone I run to the tiny window and crane and peer but you can't see hardly anything from all the way up here. Just as well that fifteen minutes later there's a fire alarm, and I get to stare morbidly at a long trail of glass and car pieces smeared all round the corner when I ought to be proceeding at a safe walking place to the assembly point, which is a patch of sunny pathway by the canal. Hmm, looks like it was a minicab.

The water is green and the trees are fragrant, elderflowers and other white polleny things with their hot rude scent. There's muck in the canal but it's not yet been hot enough for long enough for it to start smelling bad, and anyway there's a high fresh wind. I'm the only one in in my corridoor today, so I'm not on anyone's list (should I have been doing my own list?) so instead of doing fire alarm thingies I sit down in a patch of watery shade. The safety officer comes back after a while. There's a fault in the basement, which might be the boiler. We can't go back in yet. Tristan is temporary secretary in admin downstairs, but really he's got to dance! just like in Singing in the rain. He likes musicals and Farscape; he's got a gig coming up in London this autumn, singing and dancing; he saw Chess at the Old Fire Station recently and it was dreadful. I mention I saw it in the West End way back when and he briefly goes green as the river. But in an instant it's forgotten and I'm tangling up Tosca and Carmen while we try to play Pooh Sticks over a sluggish weir. Unfortunately, about half an hour later, they tell us we can go back in again. Tristan's greatly relieved. He had about £60 worth of show tunes on CD under his desk ...

It's an evening for golden beer until the pub closes. Then back to Ian's to write the Punt Party Play, something the Speculative Fiction Group does every summer, collaboratively, usually based on the recent SF blockbuster. That was back when there was usually just the one. No-one's writing yet though, it's time to drink! and gather ideas. Tom's noting them all down on a piece of paper, linking the ideas with lines, to some plan -- he keeps asking for things that come from x or relate to y until I ask him why and he draws three dots in a triangle and one off to one side and links them up, like a digram of a fly swat. Now, he says to me, how do you go to each point without visiting any twice? and, when I hesitate, quickly adds, you can't! to stop non-mathemetician me from trying. So, you get all your nodes connecting to two other things, and then you can get through the story without ever having to repeat and idea. So far, so neat and kind of fascinating (I'm already trying and failing to put the pattern to the story I'm on now) but he's also (in my Baileys and Beer befuddled mind) just wrong, and I'm saying, that's not how you construct story, in comedy you need to repeat yourself, that's how you get the laughs, the structure is more like an ascending spiral marked with downwards striations (actually seeing this pattern green on black in the dim booze-lit space in my head) ... and Tom looks at me, very serious, and nods and makes another note on his chart ... striations he says, stright-faced, checking he got the right word, and I consider excusing my blather on the grounds that I'm very drunk but can't be bothered, anyway it won't make it to the script ... by the time I stagger drunkenly home it's called 12 Bullet-time-proof Monkeys and has a chorus of Agent Smiths waving daffodils, a superhero fashion show (mostly starring She Hulk) and Neo fighting using Hammertime -- but they'll be scripting at least until dawn and the play could be anything by then.
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    grandaddy - saddest vacant lot in all the world