Earlier this week, Ben and I talked about our daydream future rabbits (Crumble, Custard, and Jeremy Irons). We’ve talked about getting fluffy friends for a while and keep putting it off because we’re never sure how long we’ll stay in one place and we’re hilariously financially unstable. Lockdown is putting into perspective how much we’d value having pets, and how everything is much more uncertain than we imagined, even when we thought we were being sensible and practical.
Then a couple of days ago, a very friendly black and white cat started visiting our garden. No collar but clearly looked after and well socialised, so we think it might be scouting us out as a holiday home. It’s amazing how much it immediately lifted us to spend even 10 minutes with Simon Cowell (which is his holiday home name), so maybe we’ll rethink bunnies again soon.
Cat tax (he decided to help me take the washing in by getting in the bag):
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last couple of weeks when I haven’t been hanging out with Simon Cowell.
I keep writing and re-writing this intro in an attempt to find pithy things to say about how I’m experiencing the passage of time, what lockdown is like where I am, how I’m filling my days other than the brief list of highlights I’ll record here. Some days I pour my heart out in my diary, trying to track how this all feels, light a pathway in case I ever want to walk back this way. Some days I do nothing at all. When I started trying to write a lighthearted weekly-ish blog about all the stupid stuff I watch and read and play, I didn’t imagine I’d be blogging a pandemic.
In case anyone’s stumbling across this and doesn’t know who the hell I am, I’m in the UK, where the advice about the pandemic is currently ???!!!
Coincidentally, I realised last weekend that I was definitely coming down with something, which has turned out (so far) to be a relatively mild head cold. It’s hard to know what to do about that when the advice is ???!!! but I reasoned that if I would stay away from my parents – who are both in treatment for cancer, so do not need to get any of my bugs, even if it’s ‘just’ a cold – then I should probably try to stay away from everyone right now. So I’ve been at home for most of this week.
And you’d think that would mean a week of catching up on boxsets, and reading, and snuggling up to watch films in the evenings. But mostly I have just…not been able to do anything. I dunno about the rest of you, but the Shakespeare-wrote-King-Lear-in-quarantine meme has been making me laugh the most, because it just seems ridiculous to expect anything coherent of ourselves when there is nothing coherent happening out there in the world.
So I have basically nothing to offer you this week except…
This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published by Exeunt Magazine on 7 March 2020.
what do kites symbolise?
‘The kite symbolizes the quest for freedom in you’ – okay, well, that can’t be it. It’s been a while since I did an essay on Macbeth but I’m reasonably sure that the quest for freedom isn’t one of the themes.
‘Traditionally, kites symbolize both prophecy and fate’ – okay yeah, that’s probably it. Huh. I didn’t know that about kites.
There’s a meat hook in this version of Macbeth.
There are also some of those translucent plastic curtains that hang down in strips, like you get in a butcher’s shop.
(“Like you get in Co-op,” says my partner, a former Co-op employee.)
The plastic curtains aren’t there all the time – sometimes a big rusty metal screen with a tiny door and tiny windows comes down in front of them. I don’t know what slaughterhouses look like. Maybe they have metal walls and tiny doors and tiny windows.
When Lady Macduff and her child get killed, they get taken behind the Co-op curtains and someone squeezes a bottle of fake blood at the plastic. It comes out in a thin, paint-y, ketchup-y squirt.
Phew. So the last few Sunday afternoons have been uncharacteristically busy. One of those Sunday afternoons was spent celebrating turning 29, which means I’m only one year away from finally getting out of my twenties, so hooray for that.
But yeah, I’m hopelessly behind on this weekly round-up. And because it’s me, the idea of being so behind and having an imperfect record makes me want to scrap the whole project. I think that’s one of the real reasons I’m ‘rubbish at Sunday afternoons’ – I’m rubbish at them because it’s the bit of the week when I realise how much I haven’t done, and that usually makes me want to ditch the whole concept of productivity and just wait it out until Monday morning. I like fresh starts. I like new days with no mistakes in them. I hate posting a blog that’s called ‘Review of the Week (8/9/10)’. I’d rather just burn the whole thing to the ground and start again.
This morning we were woken up by the sound of water dripping through the ceiling onto Ben’s pillow, so if you were wondering how we’re weathering the storm up here in the Midlands, the answer is that there are multiple holes in our roof.
But obviously we’re by no means the worst hit, and I really hope that wherever you are this week, you’re reading this from somewhere watertight.
The weather is so bad here that our windowsill blew off, which…I didn’t realise was a thing that could happen. Hope you’re all staying safe and warm.
One of my New Year resolutions was to write a novel (why), and after using January to plan the stupid thing, I’ve had to sit down and write some actual prose this week. It’s going well in the sense that I have, indeed, written some words. They are all awful words. But I’ve made a start. So here’s what else I’ve had time for this week.
We’re three weeks into 2020 already! It sort of feels like the year is hitting its stride but also we’re still eating the Christmas cake.
It’s frosty but sunny here. Is it too small-talk-y of me to let you know what the weather’s like? I find myself writing about the weather in my diary a lot; my study has a lovely view over our garden so about 50% of my ‘writing time’ is actually ‘staring out of the window time’. Frosty but sunny is one of my favourite kinds of weather, I think. I hope that, wherever you are this afternoon, the weather is your favourite kind of weather too.
Here’s what I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to this week.
Week 2! Welcome, friend. This is my round-up of the stuff I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to over the past week. I’m writing these less as an exercise in anything actually resembling cultural criticism, and more as a record of the things I put in front of my eyes and ears throughout 2020.