Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Artistic liberties

I have just received photographs from a friend who is a Dancer. Yes, with a capital D, because that's the way she says it. "Hi, I'm K and I'm a Dancer." The photos are of a works premiere (whatever that may be) from a dance workshop she attended. Now, I didn't know she was attending a workshop. I don't know anybody else who attended the workshop. Moreover, I am not a Dancer. Or just a dancer for that matter. This left me slightly confused as to why K had decided to email me 76 photos of people I don't know dancing. Oh, sorry, they're obviously Dancing.

These photos were accompanied by a
lengthy email telling me how she got so much out of the workshop and a lot of waffling on about pureness of form. I won't bore you with the details, bad enough I had to wade through the email. I do that out of guilt more than anything else. And to read between the lines, which is far more interesting.

See the thing with these Artists (using the term loosely here to describe all aspiring painters, sculptors, dancers, Dancers, actors, directors etc. who live for their art and keep banging on about it as if they're doing the entire world a huge favour) is that they're incredibly competitive and petty, largely insecure and in need of constant validation. I know this because I went through that phase in my teens. I am a founding member of a small independent theatre company which, as far as I know, is still up and running. I was actively involved for 10 years (I started when I was 14) and I know all too well how things turn out. While there is great camaraderie, the moment a coveted role/show/film comes up it's every man and woman for themselves, dogs eating the proverbial dogs until one comes up on top of the pile when it all dies down, the fake smiles a plastered back onto the faces and everybody gathers around the Chosen One, pats him/her on the back and quickly
skitter away into a dark corner to bitch about them while mentally flagellating yourself wondering what it was that has made you so shit.

It's in no way healthy, being so dependent on outside approval. But the inner workings of any of these art-
sy groups are truly fascinating. From K's email and photos I could easily gather that within their little workshop were found:

a) Miss A. The queen bee. Averagely talented, think she's hugely talented. As much flesh on show as possible, will flirt
outrageously with anyone she thinks may further her career. Girls don't like her. Men don't really know what to do with her. You will find her on the foreground of most photographs or using one of male friends as a pole dancing pole.

b) Miss L. Miss A's best friend and second fiddle. Thinks being associated with Miss A will make her more popular/talented. Ironically, often more talented than Miss A but less ruthless and desperate. In group photographs she's the one with her arm around Miss A while Miss A fights to get the most exposure.

c) The Amateur. The Amateur is someone who's not really all that into Art. He/she joined because his/her friend didn't want to go alone. Male amateurs sometimes hang around Artists in hope to attract a mate or appear more interesting. Female amateurs want to belong or appear moody and interesting. The Amateur doesn't give a toss about pureness of form or method acting. The Amateur is there for a good time and maybe a shag.

d) The Scorer. 99% of the time The Scorer is male. He's there to exploit the vulnerable nature of Artist females. Insecure beings, female Artists will latch on to anyone who tells them they're beautiful (pretty is a 4-letter word to an Artist) and talented. Female Artist will repay any complement with a sexual favour of choice, provided The Scorer has played his cards right.

e) The Oldie. The Oldie has been there from The Beginning. The Oldie is old beyond their years, their face a map of a journey completely devoted to Art. They've made sacrifices, they've done it the Hard Way. They have stories to tell and there's no more receptive audience than young, impressionable minds. Inside the group The Oldie is revered as a tribe elder,
imparter of wisdom. The Oldie has done it all and wants to tell you about it. To an outsider The Oldie is a has-been trying to grab back some of the golden years by returning to the place where it all began. Like a dog to its vomit.

f) The Talent. The Talent is a rare find but they do exist. The Talent is someone who actually has a chance to make their Art into a paying job. They work their asses off and get results. The don't waffle on about pureness of form or method acting or suffering for your Art. They're the ones to watch out for, they've every chance to make it big.

Now I do understand I may have come across a bit harsh. But I need to stress that all I said above applies to the ones claiming to be Artists. These people are a completely separate breed from people who actually are artists. I have the greatest respect towards people who make their living as artists, no matter what the field. It is extremely hard work. 3 months in a drama school was more than enough to determine it wasn't a line of work for me. Because that's what it is. Work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

All things wet and wonderful

Okay then. This is now day 6 without Mr S (and please don't tell him this) but I haven't noticed his absence all that much. I am quite enjoying the peace and quiet so far. I can go to bed without being woken up a few hours later by Mr S stomping his way from the living room (all lights on, telly turned up loud enough for our neighbours to enjoy), through the kitchen (stop at fridge, have a quick drink, don't forget to turn on light, make as much noise as possible closing the fridge door), into the bathroom (turn on the light, bang the toilet lid, cough loudly or make some other kind of noise), then doing his best baby elephant impression walk all the way back through the house to the living room, turn off all lights, lock the door and make as much noise as humanly possible getting into bed. The only thing that makes this worse is him turning around and saying "Sorry, didn't mean to wake you up".

Now that my rant is safely out of the way I do have to confess that I do miss him. Maybe more in one respect than others. And get your filthy minds out of the gutter, please! Although I must admit celibacy isn't bringing out anything pleasant in me. I miss being able to pick up the phone and ring him to ask him what to do if something goes wrong. Nothing major, but something like the TV or the dishwasher, or anything electrical or technical. Don't get me wrong, I can change a light bulb and programme the DVD recorder, tune a telly and I'll even give the old changing a flat tyre a go, but I need Mr S to tell me what's wrong with things so he can then fix them. There's nothing the man can't do and I really do wonder where do men in general learn this stuff? Is it one of those things dads gather their sons around for? Or are they little pearls of wisdom men just pick up along the way? I really haven't a clue. I'm glad he does, I'd hate to have to call the plumber around
everytime the boiler needs bleeding.

Could somebody tell me what's going on with the weather? Apocalyptic floods and gale force winds are what prompted my mother to ring me from Finland (the bad floods had made it into Finnish news, too) just to check if I was still afloat. Being a mum, she asked me if I needed her to come over. Considering this is a 5'2" woman who cannot swim, I found the question extremely endearing but funny nonetheless.

But seriously, seeing photographs in the papers and in the news of houses completely devastated by the floods, homes underwater,
bridges collapsed, traffic come to a standstill; well it all just makes you realise how little there is to be done. For all we know, these freak storm might well be our own doing. But honestly, disaster movies have tapped onto a very real fear. What can you do when your own surroundings, your very own comfort zone you call home, are getting a bit too close for comfort. I truly feel for all those who have been driven out of their homes.

All I can do is ride out the storm and hope I don't wake up that much closer to the Atlantic sea. That and start building an ark.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Anti-social experiment

Right, friends. Mr S has left me. Not "left" left me, just left the house for three whole weeks. Today is day 1 without Mr S. I have a funny feeling it's going to go one of two ways; either I'll find I thoroughly enjoy spending time alone and be delighted to see Mr S on his return OR (and this is the more likely scenario) I will go insane and become an anti-social shut-in who will shun all human contact and be extremely annoyed to see Mr S return and mess up the perfect world order I have created in his absence.

I am looking forward to this in a way. It's ages since I've been home alone. Maybe I'll get into amusing adventures involving two hapless would-be burglars (and me armed with a baseball bat). Or maybe I'll bore myself out of my mind within two days and resort to visiting everyone I know in a 100 mile radius to keep myself occupied.

Thankfully I'm still working 3 days a week. I know I'll moan about that, too but at least I'm guaranteed some form of human contact. Not that I'm usually this much of a homebody but lately I do feel like just staying at home and reading
a lot.

Let my anti-social experiment begin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Unlucky 13...

...my arse. I just wanted to share it with the world. There's nothing unlucky about my Friday the 13th. The salon I go to had it's 10th "birthday" today and they were handing out freebies and vouchers. I have a collection of Dermalogica samples, €20 gift voucher, and I got facemapping done for free.

If you haven't had facemapping done before, a word of advice; don't do it. They stick your head into a little box where you can see yourself in some kind of UV light.
Everything shows up. I mean everything. Remember that holiday you had 6 years ago when you got badly sunburnt? Even if you don't, your face does remember. Unless you have spent your entire life in the shade or have slathered on factor 50 every time you step outside, your face is going to be covered in little dark spots. They look like freckles' evil twins. And they're everywhere. Apparently dehydrated skin comes up purple. Needless to say, I looked like Barney with skin cancer. It wasn't pretty. I have resolved to cleanse, tone and moisturise religiously every day. We'll see how long I last this time. Standing record is 11 days.

I'm saving the best for last, obviously. I opened the glove box of my car to put some unnecessary crap from my handbag in there, and I was greeted by a lonely, forgotten
unopened bag of Pick'n Mix! I bought it on wednesday when shopping with Mr S, shoved it into the glove box and forgot all about it. I smiled all the way home.

Unlucky 13 my arse.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


What a nice day I had today. If I sound surprised it's because I was working today and was, quite frankly, expecting it to be shit. So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out, well, nice.

Mr S wanted to go shopping yesterday. I know, I was just as shocked as you are. He NEVER wants to go shopping with me. He much rather goes in by himself, picks up exactly what he needs and nothing more and then goes in to one of the electrics -shops and looks at TVs and other gadgets and then comes home telling me we need most of them if not all of them. The man loves his gadgets. Some of them do come in handy, such as the navigator, which has saved me from many a sticky spot. I love not having to take out the huge map of the entire country and trying to locate yourself on it every time you're not entirely sure where it is that you're supposed to be going. On the downside I have completely stopped paying attention to road signs. All I can do is hope there's no major changes on the roads down our neck of the woods any time soon, lord knows where I'll wind up. But then I do have my trusty navigator to tell me where to go in case I do get lost. It really is a win-win situation. Just don't tell Mr S I said that, I was complaining that he spent too much money on the thing at the time.

A work mate told me today they think I'm suffering from
OCD. The thing is, they're probably right. I'm borderline at least. What prompted the statement from my colleague was when he saw me re-arranging plates by size and shape and stacking them on shelves. For me it was completely natural to do that with my spare time. When things aren't put away in the right place, it does bother me. Rationally thinking I know it's not that big of a deal but in real life if I see a square plate stacked on top of a pile of round ones, there's very little I can do to stop myself from placing the square one safely back with it's own kind.

I just like things done in a certain way, but I do have to admit I do take to the extremes sometimes. It's not like expect everyone to do the same. Apart from Mr S, who, often gets me nagging at him to do something only to find me re-doing it if he hasn't done it
exactly as I would do it.

For example, I can only make sandwiches in even numbers. This causes problems because most loaves of bread will only make an uneven number of sandwiches or worse yet, you're left with a lonely slice of bread without a partner.

My car stereo volume can only be an even number. Acceptable uneven numbers are 5 and 15. If anyone else is driving the car while I'm in it, I will keep a close eye on the volume. If it's anyone
else's car I really don't care as long as the music is good.

I never put a new
CD onto track 13 unless I know the track. Again, if someone else does it, I don't care.

It's not like I believe something horrible is going to happen if I don't do these things but I still insist on doing them. It makes me feel better.

Order into my chaos.

Poor Mr S.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strangers on the line

I love facebook, I really really do. Where else could you find lost friends from sandboxes of time and stumble upon people you once had a drunken conversation with in a crowded night club bathroom while you're both dancing with the need to pee. It's also the perfect place to stalk people while pretending to be their friends. I do it, you do it, we might as well be honest about it.

What I don't understand is the friend requests from friends of friends or
facebook's own suggestions of "people you may know". Firstly, friends of friends aren't necessarily my friends. Just because we share an acquaintance, it doesn't mean we should be friends. I recently got a friend request from my friend's work mate who then sent me three subsequent messages asking me why I had turned him down (his wording, not mine) as a friend. Ha was quite frankly starting to scare me...

I'm sure
facebook had the best of intentions when introducing the "people you may know" feature. But let's face it, if I haven't friended someone by now, I'm quite unlikely to friend them now. What truly baffles me is these people who I have 18 or 15 or more friends in common and still, I haven't a clue who they are. The case of one girl, we have gone to the same school, known the same people and obviously frequented the same bars, shops, restaurants and cafes for quite some time. I can honestly say I do not know her. We even had a laugh about it on facebook. We're now facebook friends.

But it did get me thinking. How come our paths never met? Surely she was at the house party to end all house parties (which it did, mainly because of the fire), I know I was, as was the entire town. She was only one year below me in secondary school, and it was a small school. Everyone knew everyone else, at least knew their faces if not their names. Maybe I was such a self-absorbed little twat that I only cared about my own clique and nobody outside said clique mattered to me? Or maybe it was her who was oblivious to my
presence? I obviously didn't miss her as a friend, nor did she miss me. It's just funny in a way, to be in such close proximity to someone for years and never meet, only to be introduced to each other via a social networking tool.

Just so you know, she's a lovely girl and we exchange quite a few messages every week. I daresay more than I do with some of my "live" friends in fact.

Welcome, me!

Okay, then...here goes :)

I've tried blogging about a million times before, always managing to produce something at various intervals for about a month and then abandoning it all. Who's to say this time won't be just as bad as the previous attempts, but what the hell? I'll give it a (yet another) go.

For those who don't know me (and that would probably be all of you) I'm 28 years of age until January next, when I'll be turning 21 +vat once more. I live in Ireland, have done so for the last 7 years. I was born in Finland and found my way to this little island through work placement in college, I met Mr S whom I've been sharing a bed and more with for over 6 years now. Despite prolific procreation going on all around me lately, I'm yet to have any offspring. I'm starting to think I might not want any (*gasp*). Right now I'm happy enough to mind other people's babies. That way I know I can just hand the little buggers right back to the parents the minute my last nerve starts to look just that little bit too frayed to withstand another screaming fit.

I have an older brother, who has a daughter and a fiancè, and two very excitable dogs. My niece's mother is not my brother's fiancè, just to make things a little bit more complicated despite amicable splits and joint custody.

My parents decided after I was born to have achieved perfection as far as offspring goes and decided to stop at that. Lucky really, I don't think I could handle any more immediate family.

About 4 years ago I persuaded Mr S it would be a good idea to get a cat. It was at the time, still is, most of the time. She was ever so cute when she arrived, little white ball of fluff we named Lily. She's still cute, most of the time. Not when she decides to jump on the bed at 6am to wake me up. Mr S sleeps through nuclear holocausts, it's very unsatisfactory for the cat to jump on top of him if she's expecting a reaction of some sort. Lily was joined a couple of years ago by Tom who had hung around our house for a while and one day decided to move in. He's a lot quieter. Except at the witching hour when he positions himself beside the bed and let out a howl loud enough to be heard in parts of Scotland and Wales.

I work, most of the time (which is a way to at least partly explain the sporadic nature of my previous blogs). I'm an assistant restaurant manager for a quite a large tourist attraction. It being a tourist attraction I find myself with plenty of spare time in the winter when only the bravest of all tourists venture out here to experience the cead mile failte and buckets of rain and the turf fires. Fair play to them, really, I'd opt for something like Spain or Italy, but that's just me. Good thing I don't work for the Irish Tourist Board or any other such authority.

So this is me. Nice to meet you.