Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Waiting

Lately I've become something of an expert in waiting. Waiting for deliveries, waiting for answers to queries, waiting for the go-ahead on work projects, waiting in queues at the bank. Yesterday I waited nearly an hour for my optician appointment. “Thank you for being patient” he said when he finally saw to me. Have you noticed that they always say that - “thank you” - but never actually apologise or explain? No matter, there was a copy of Tatler to look through, several times, which I found so appalling that it was entertaining and after perusing its photos of the aristocracy, I'm still smiling at the sight of Countess Spencer's voluminous hair.


So after the horrible eye test I've been coerced into spending a disproportionate amount of my income on new glasses. Using one of those two-for-one offers which is never really as good value as it sounds, I've a black frame and a turquoise frame on order. I may regret the turquoise... When I got home I couldn't remember what they even looked like so I searched for them online; I found the black ones and then noticed the website's sales blurb that accompanied them:

'Resonant with smouldering embers and charcoal matt black, making this the perfect frame for the unassuming type who is ready to let loose'

I wonder who writes this stuff?  I'm looking forward to letting loose, though!

~~~

We couldn't resist playing some Aphrodite's Child on hearing about the death of Demis Roussos.


Aphrodite's Child: Magic Mirror

Dear Demis was undoubtedly groovy at one time although, as a fond friend remarked, in our minds he will always be linked to Abigail's Party.


By the way these are not my new glasses...


Mike Leigh's play is of course a masterpiece in uncomfortable but compelling viewing. I suppose it taps into the curiosity we generally have about what goes on behind the scenes in relationships and the strange gratification that comes from discovering that things are rarely as straightforward as they might seem.

That was resonant to me last week when I met someone I haven't seen in 8 or 9 years and we were trying to catch up in the time it takes to have a quick coffee. In the course of our general chit-chat she announced that her life had changed, most dramatically, on one particular day in April 2009. “But I won't bore you with all the sordid details...” she said. “No, of course..,” I replied gently, but the voice in my head was going, “Oh do! DO! Tell me everything, the more sordid and detailed the better!” and as I sipped the rest of my coffee I waited for her to drop me some little morsels that I could catch hungrily like a dog jumping at its owner's feet for titbits.  I'm still waiting...

~~~

Tomorrow I may have to wait in all day for a courier to collect some artwork, as I'm told he could come any time between 9am and 7pm.  I will not be reading fucking Tatler.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Walk with me (once again)

Patchy sun and a bit on the chilly ticket so put your parka on...

And off we go down the road.


It used to say Please keep cars off the grass but I think someone drove into it...

Here's that curvy crinkle-crankle wall - you remember I mentioned it before?


Ordinary objects in unexpected places seem to me as if they're trying to say something.


I've just no idea what.



If we turn left at the end of the street for a change we can head up the long drive towards a privately owned stately home.


Years ago I enquired here to see if there was any part-time work I could do, thinking I might be able to use some skills I'd picked up in my previous office life. “Well, I do need someone to help me get more organised,” the very nice lady of the house told me, “like reminding me when I need to go to the dentist”.

I didn't think it was the job for me. It would have been good to be surrounded by some of the animals here, though, most of which are rare breeds.


Like the Norfolk Horn sheep. This was the breed which brought so much wealth to this region in the Middle Ages because of the wool trade. But by the 1950s, their numbers had dwindled to just 15. Curious as they are, I can't get too close to their front ends today, they're too skittish. Apparently they're just as good as goats at jumping over fences.


A dog with curly black hair and floppy ears is resolutely ignoring his owner's calls. He's running the opposite way down the drive, intent on catching up with another dog at the bottom. “Archie! Get back here! NOW!” Archie just keeps on going, until he's just a few feet away from the object in his sights, upon which he loses his nerve completely, turns right around and gallops back to his owner, ears flapping wildly.

The horses aren't bothered about Archie's flapping ears.


These Suffolk Punches are always chesnut in colour. You leave the middle 'T' out of the spelling chestnut when referring to the strong russet brown of these heavy horses, it's tradition. Like the Norfolk Horn sheep, they were near to extinction at one time; in 1966 only 9 foals were born.


As the light changes fleetingly, my camera really picks up the rich colour coat.


No cars here today.


I can smell the Longhorns from a few yards away... can you?


Then turn round to face cloudy skies for the walk home. No scene is complete without a traffic cone.


And while I've got my camera with me I must just get a shot of Toby Tog!  You know how much I like being patronised by inanimate objects.






Thursday, 22 January 2015

She goes in and out and in and out...

Last night I had this dream in which I was playing, of all the most unlikely things, an accordion.  I'd forgotten about it completely until I was flitting around the interwebs this morning and quite by chance I came across an article about, of all the most unlikely things, accordions.  "Ooh, what a weird coincidence!  I've just broken my dream!" I gasped, and went on to explain to Mr SDS how spookily odd it seemed that I should both dream about and read about, in the space of just a few hours, and of all the most unlikely things, accordions.


 "No, it was the Johnnie Allen song" he replied.

Ah... my memory is so short sometimes.  Last night, before I'd gone to bed, we'd been going through some music archives not heard in a long time, and it included Johnnie Allen's cover of Chuck Berry's 'Promised Land'.  It's a great song, isn't it?  And it has a very notable accordion break in it.   Of course...



Still, it was weird to be playing the accordion in a dream.

An accordion

A typewriter


Monday, 19 January 2015

Bubble 'n' Squeak

My Bubble 'n' Squeak didn't really bubble much yesterday but it did squeak. It was singing too... singing and sizzling away in the pan, a joyous mash-up of leftover potato and of course greens. Sometimes that's cabbage but this time the potato sung its squeaky chorus with sprouts and onion, seasoned with plenty of pepper and a dollop of Colman's mustard.

I love a bit of Bubble 'n' Squeak and apparently, so did George IV, the Prince of Wales.


Oops, wrong pic.

This is the real George IV:


In his day, it wasn't made with potato at all, but was a mixture of leftover beef or pork and veg although it's believed that the meat-free version with mashed potatoes that we think of now became the norm around the time of WWII.   Bubble 'n' Squeak even gets a mention in Byron's Don Juan and is gently ridiculed by 'Mary Midnight' (the alter-ego of a satirical writer called Christopher Smart) in a publication called The Mid-Wife, or Old Woman's Magazine, from 1753:

'Take of Beef, Mutton, or Lamb, or Veal, or any other Meat, two Pounds and an half, or any other Quantity; let it lay in Salt, till the saline Particles have lock’d up all the Juices of the Animal, and render’d the Fibres too hard to be digested; then boil it over a Turf or Peat Fire, in a Brass Kettle cover’d with a Copper Lid, till it is much done. Then take Cabbage (that which is most windy, and capable of producing the greatest Report) and boil it in a Bell-Metal Pot till it is done enough, or if you think proper, till it is done too much. Then slice the Beef, and souse that and the Cabbage both in a Frying-Pan together, and let it bubble and squeak over a Charcoal Fire, for half an Hour, three Minutes, and two Seconds. Then eat a Quantum sufficit, or two Pounds and a half, and after it drink sixteen Pints of fat Ale, smoak, sleep, snoar, belch, and forget your Book.'

Very Blackadder...

Of course I don't really know all this stuff, I just had to research it, unable to resist the yearning to satisfy some pointless curiosity about the history of such an endearingly named, typically English, dish. Next time... Spotted Dick and custard?

(Sort of defeats the object)


Nat Kendrick & The Swans: (Do The) Mashed Potatoes
with James Brown

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Cosmic

I looked out at the sky yesterday evening and tonight in the hope of seeing a green light, up there somewhere near Orion's Belt. Of course it was too cloudy and I couldn't even see any stars, let alone the glowing luminescence of Comet Lovejoy which is apparently at its most visible around about now. Have you seen it? I find it hard to get my head around the idea that it's 44 million miles away and is basically a big lump of ice that orbits the sun. It'll be another 8000 years before it's back...oh... these numbers are just too big.


I remember being given lessons about the night sky at primary school. It's funny how so many little things I was taught at a very young age stick forever, but very little of what I try to learn now (like the definition of the word intractable for some reason) maintains a permanent position in my brain. Maybe it's just run out of space.  If that's the case perhaps 'recognition of Orion's Belt' should really move out in favour of 'having an ever-expanding vocabulary that includes the word intractable' - but it just won't budge.

intractable
ɪnˈtraktəb(ə)l/
adjective
  1. hard to control or deal with.
    "intractable economic problems"

  2. (of a person) difficult or stubborn.

When I was about six we learnt about Halley's Comet too, because there was another comet in the news around that time (I think). Teacher told us that Halley's Comet was the most famous one and that we would be lucky enough to see it in our lifetimes because it was due again in the far distant future...1986! The thought of myself at 23 was as mind-blowing then as hearing that Halley's Comet had been travelling around the sun for thousands of years.



Later, perhaps when I actually was 23, I thought it a wonderful coincidence that Bill Haley should call his band 'Comets'.  Uh.


I don't recall ever seeing Halley's Comet that year but maybe I wasn't looking.

As far as Comet Lovejoy goes, though, what a sweet name. I'd like to think it was named after the character from the eponymous, long-running but frankly rather crap BBC TV series (which just so happened to make its appearance in 1986 too and much of which was filmed around here), but in this case it's Terry Lovejoy, an Australian amateur astronomist (I'm so glad I'm typing, not speaking). But I still can't help picturing a different kind of star altogether when I hear the name and there are worse things to think about, I'm sure you'll understand.



Saturday, 3 January 2015

Cuckoo

I've never knowingly seen a cuckoo, have you? I've heard them... mostly in the long hot summers of my childhood... but not recently. It's easy to mistake the repetitive call of a distant collared dove for a cuckoo if you only catch the last two notes - in fact I heard one today - but, whilst our collared doves are happy to stay here however chilly our European winters might be, and coo-coooooo-coo their way through Christmas and New Year, our cuckoos will now be in warmer climes – Africa, usually, perhaps in Angola, or the Congo.

I suppose a more apt-sounding destination would be Cloud Cuckoo Land, which in my head is somewhere between Timbuktu and Shangri La... but which in fact (well, fiction) was a perfect city in the clouds erected in an incredibly short time, the imaginative creation of an ancient Greek playwright called Aristophanes. The name was first used in 414BC in his comedy 'The Birds', which I understand had nothing to do with Alfred Hitchcock...

Cuckooland also sounds like a suitable place for the birds' winter holiday but it turns out it's a cuckoo clock museum in Cheshire. Yes, you did read that right: a cuckoo clock museum.


According to the lyrics of the traditional English folk song The Cuckoo (or Coo Coo), it's a “pretty bird” who “warbles when s/he flies”. Bob Dylan covered the song, as did numerous other artists including Richard Thompson, Donovan and the Everly Brothers. The version I know best is by the Be Good Tanyas.


It's best not to anthropomorphise these birds though because, in human terms, they would seem dysfunctional at best and murderous at worst. The mothers had dumped their eggs in the nests of other smaller species and abdicated from parental duties completely.  The fathers had left the scene long beforehand, and their unknown young, once hatched, had been responsible for the deaths of all the biological offspring of their unwitting new foster parents. But if I can just compare one positive thing to human ability (or lack of), it's their incredible migration. The thought of it boggles my mind, as it does when I consider all creatures who travel vast distances under their own power. I don't know if they warbled, or perhaps even wobbled, when they flew, but once the breeding season was over our cuckoos left their roots for a nine month stay thousands of miles away.  The cuckoo weighs about the same as an i-phone, and its wingspan is similar length to a human adult's arm from shoulder to wrist. It can cover hundreds of miles a day at a speed of 50mph and a cruising height of over a mile, across continents and seas. (Don't even get me started on butterfly migration...)


The cuckoos will hopefully be back here in the Spring and we must all listen out for the first one so that we can immediately write a letter to The Times. The newspaper has been publishing 'first cuckoo of Spring' letters for about a hundred years now, so it's a tradition which really should be maintained. The only thing is to make sure you don't first hear a cuckoo whilst cleaning the loo or having your teeth drilled by a sadistic dentist. If possible, make sure you're somewhere really nice, somewhere you'd like to spend more time, and doing something that makes you happy, because superstition has it that wherever you are and whatever condition you're in when you hear the first cuckoo of Spring is how you'll remain for the next twelve months.

Maybe you'd like to be listening to the Cramps?




Thursday, 1 January 2015

Talent!

Happy New Year!

I love looking at everyone's blogs and being presented with such a wealth of talent.   There is just so much great art, music, writing, comedy and photography, both from bloggers and from others whose work is showcased within, a lot of which I'd never know about if I hadn't met you all in Blogworld.

Recently, the lovely and talented fellow blogger Yve over at Nightshade Dolls has been working hard on a unique collaborative project, 'Cult Of Doll' and a preview of it in the form of a Mini Almanac is available to peruse online for the first time today.

With its stunning design, beautiful illustrations and a delicious air of gothic mystery it gives a little introductory taster of some fantastical tales dreamed up by the 'one of a kind' doll and figurative artists involved to accompany and complement their creations.

Here's the delightful poster for it


and here's the link .  Just click on View to see the contents. I'm looking forward to further developments.



Tuesday, 30 December 2014

On reflektion

I had an unusual looking present to open this Christmas. It was a flattish hexagon of uneven length sides, about a foot long at its greatest diameter. I didn't have a clue what it could be and Mr SDS told me with a serious face that it was “a bugger to wrap up”.  What on earth comes in an irregular six-sided package?  Obviously I didn't think it was going to be a CD that I'd been mentioning in the last few weeks. But, tucked up inside two pieces of very weirdly shaped card....    yes...   a CD. Who'd have thought?!

Also, until recently, there's no way I would even have wanted a CD by this band. I've done this all the wrong way round. You're supposed to like a band when they're obscure, underground, for people with esoteric taste only, aren't you... then when, for some reason or other, they become superstars for the masses, that spells the end.  It happened to me with Adam & the Ants; the band I loved in '78 and '79 was really not the same as the one whose image was later to adorn pencil cases for pre-teens, and of course I could never feel the same love for Prince Charming as I had for, say, Deutscher Girls. Although I've liberated myself from the constraints of youthful cliqueiness (is that a word?) any time I get into a  band or artist there's still a little part of me that retains that secret, horribly snobbish dread that they'll desert our exclusive club and go all stadium instead.

Arcade Fire became superstars, didn't they? They never did anything for me, not even in the early days – I saw them on telly some years back and just thought, “There's too many of them” and I wasn't keen on what seemed to me to be too many instruments and not enough tune. Style over substance, I decided.  So from thereon I ended up sort of dismissing them, and when they became really big that seemed enough reason not to revisit.  Then I saw them on the Glastonbury footage this Summer and something inside me changed. Their performance of Rebellion (Lies) was something to behold and I couldn't take my eyes off them. The song kept going through my head and I realised with some surprise that I really liked it.  And that I liked them. Enough to want to hear some more...

I received Reflektor for Christmas and I love it. Who'd have thought?!

The video for the We Exist courted some controversy at the time and the band were criticised for not using a genuine transgender actor.  I know you  probably already know all that but I'm so late on parade...  I just love this track although it always ends up as 'Black Is Black' in my head.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Loss

When I was growing up, there amid the various ceramics, pots and plants that adorned the shelves in our house was a small white figurine that my mum had sculpted out of plaster-of-paris. It was of a heavily pregnant woman, cradling a baby in one arm. By her side, looking upwards and holding onto her other hand, was a young child. Smooth and faceless, the composition of the sculpture was perfectly balanced. The maternal theme became a dominant one in my mum's art and the plaster figures were later joined by wooden and stone ones depicting a similar character. The recurring features frequently comprised pregnant stomachs, full breasts and broad hips: a consummate physical definition of motherhood.

As I got older I was able to piece things together more; I didn't understand the reason for the motherhood theme in its artistic form then in the way that I do now, but it did seem to fall naturally into place. There was a member of my family missing and it was Hugh, and conceived from my mum's grief were the material representations of him to fill the void; babies and children, both born and unborn, carried and held by their loving mother.

I was really quite small when my mum first told me about Hugh. I can't remember exactly how or what she told me but I know I didn't really like it when she talked about him... it was uncomfortable, not “normal”.  Hugh was the middle child, a younger brother to my sister and a few years older than me. When my sister and I met a distant aunt at my mum's funeral his name unexpectedly came up in conversation. Audrey told us, “He was such a beautiful new-born baby – and with a lovely head of auburn hair!” and on the day that we had said our last formal goodbyes to our mother it felt oddly as if we were somehow also greeting our brother at the same time. I started to wish I had talked about him more to my mum while she was alive, but perhaps there was reticence on her part.

From what we did discuss, at the actual moment of his birth he had been perfectly healthy, but it seems that a short time afterwards something happened and he was deprived of oxygen. He became severely brain-damaged which then rendered him paralysed and unable to see or hear. There was a veiled suggestion that it had had something to do with the hospital, but this is not the time to apportion blame or to search for explanations - it happened.

And it was 1959. Whereas nowadays I think parents would be encouraged to look after a severely disabled baby and offered support to help with its development and sensory stimulation, that didn't happen then. Hugh was taken away to a special hospital and he stayed there for the entirety of his short life, dying at the age of six. By that time I had been born, although I feel sure that I would not have even been conceived had my brother's existence been a happier, healthier one. I don't remember ever seeing him, but he was always there – and in death more than in life: a shadow, a ghost, always there in the background, his name carried with it an unspoken sense of shame.  It was a heartbreak that my mother never fully came to terms with. I know people find ways to deal with all manner of terrible personal tragedies but sadly such was her nature that she never completely healed, and suffered episodes of serious depression throughout the rest of her life. Yet, out of this deepest grief, she found her artistic voice. With slender fingers she nurtured the sculpting materials of her choice into new forms. Using chisels and gouges she carved fearlessly into wood and stone, and with bare hands she shaped the soft wet plaster-of-paris into that small white figurine of the mother-of-three that stood next to the lamp on the shelf.  Maybe it's shaped me a little too.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmases past

I awoke and something about the backdrop of dark stillness and the early hour of a Christmas morning effortlessly evoked a series of sweet, random memories. Sensory, childhood memories: sounds, tastes, textures, more.  A car slowly driving by triggered them, I think, and although I could only hear it, in my mind I could see it; as if from a high window, peeping through curtains, a car navigating its way gently through a freshly snowed-on road.  The snowsparkles are glinting in headlights like glitter, the sound of the vehicle's tyres muffled. The scene is vivid from under my duvet, uncluttered by conscious thoughts and the distractions of the day to come... it makes me feel cosy, safe. I let it play through in my mind and passively wait for others to join it.

Next the smell and the taste of biscuits. Biscuits in a big jar, from a variety pack; but they've all been put in there together so the tastes have mingled. Chocolate digestives are tinged with strawberry pink wafers, and custard creams infused with the tang of gingernut. No matter, they're creamy and crumbly and more interesting than Rich Tea, even if a little stale. Their softness, that accidental melange of flavours... it's comfortable. It's sugary-tea and paper-bag-of-sherbet-lemons and a Hot Wheels set and black-and-white-telly, home-from-school comfortable.

It's 1972 and I have a (surprise) kitten for Christmas! She's delivered on Christmas Eve, in a big box. I open the lid and reach in to find the sweetest, lightest – feather-light! - fluffiest ball of sleepy kitten softness, all huge ears and round eyes that look just a little too far apart.  Cleo, I call her.  Middle name Olga (after Olympic heroine of the year, Olga Korbut). She's white with black splodges; three big black spots in a line on her tummy look like buttons of coal on a snowman. When she licks my cheek I feel the unexpected raspiness of her tongue and get a faint whiff of pilchard Kitekat. If this nine-year-old child could see into the future she might be surprised to know that Cleo would be with her for the next 19 years.

Then I think of Nanny and Granddad coming to stay, a memory which conjures up more tastes and smells: the floral scent of Nanny's face powder, like talc, and the taste of Granddad's diabetic chocolate (oddly, a treat, just because it was different.) Nanny drinks Guinness and sleeps in the afternoons, Granddad wears a huge gold and black signet ring on one of his fingers, his hands have big yellow knuckles and, sadly, a few too many scabs, from woodworking wounds which don't heal as fast as they should. (I don't like to see the scabs.)  He makes pictures from flat wood pieces, like one of a house all formed from geometric shapes in different shades of brown.  With a steep roof and a large chimney, it's set against a background of chequerboard fields.

This is my Christmas past, locked somewhere in the late sixties and early seventies, a mash-up of moments experienced through senses.  It wasn't actually snowing when that car went past yesterday morning as I lay in bed... although they say it may do tomorrow. I can't wait for the muffled sound of the tyres on the road when it does.

Cleo (cats dig vinyl)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

On Christmas Eve

Wishing you an easy, happy time doing whatever it is that you want to do! 
Merry Christmas. 
x

The kids just love it when Tiddles plays some Death Cab For Cutie covers

Monday, 22 December 2014

Abstract moment of the week #4 (Christmas edition)

Some simple things have made me smile this week...

Kirsty down the Co-op says that her six-year-old daughter only wants two things for Christmas, but she really, really wants them. Not for her a Cupcake Shop pop-up play tent or a Princess Pony pencil case, no.  All she wants for Christmas is a yo-yo and a balloon.  So sweet!

Then I was walking through the quiet village street on Thursday evening when a skinny little Santa came towards me. Full gear, you know: red suit, red hat, white fur trim. I couldn't work out whether it was a boy or girl, but I can tell you that a four foot high Nightmare Before Christmas Santa Jack with white face and blacked out eyes and mouth looks kinda cute in Nike Air Max walking past a chip shop.


And finally here's a song (nothing to do with Christmas) which is currently high on my playlist and this is an abstract moment after all.... but a synthpop version of a classic Bauhaus song for a teen vampire film soundtrack? I don't care! It makes me smile too.




Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Uncool for cats

I didn't snog Chris Difford, nor take my top off in front of the cameras, but for years – decades, in fact – you could be forgiven for thinking I had. Those festive pop video shows filled me with a disproportionate sense of dread. I could take any amount of the perennial Slade, Mud and Wizzard clips as long as they never, ever showed 'Christmas Day' by Squeeze.

It's December 1979 and I'm sixteen, self-consciously punky and down in London skiving with three of my male college mates. We spend most of the day in the Kings Road. It's a really damp, foggy day and the once vertical spikes of my peroxide-white hair have gone all floppy. That's the kind of thing that really mattered then, as I'm sure you understand.

We end up at Seditionaries admiring the Two Cowboys T-shirts (you know the one I mean) and Viv's behind the counter; we're a little in awe of her. I seem to remember she treated us rather condescendingly and I don't blame her one bit.  But she tells us that some video people are looking for extras to appear in a shoot they're doing at the Molinare Studios in Soho. It'll be good, take a trip down there, she suggests. She's very persuasive, and we're a little drunk. And my hair is all floppy, grrr.

That's how I end up doing the fucking conga in a room full of strangers while free drink in paper cups is handed out along with party hats and Squeeze mime to their terrible Christmas single over and over again. All I remember is knocking back the warm lager and thinking it was really, really uncool to be dancing the conga.  And seeing a woman there with massive tits.

Oh... and that my hair had gone all floppy.  I hated it when my hair went all floppy.

Once sober the sheer horror of it all kicked in. I hoped the single would fail miserably and the video would never be shown on Top Of The Pops. I carried this weight around with me for years. Having told Mr SDS about it he could never work out quite why I was so reticent, so embarrassed - why I cringed at the merest thought that one day it might get aired. I think he was convinced that I had snogged Chris Difford or taken my top off in front of the cameras. I started to think I had done so myself, perhaps even both at the same time.

All these years on, YouTube has entered our lives and everything is out there. I might as well get this over with once and for all.  Deep breaths.

The single and the video are absolute shit; no wonder it never charted. But of course I have to watch the whole dire thing through, in case. Self-conscious teenagers, so obviously pulled in off the streets, dance around like idiots; I see a glimpse of white-blonde hair.... nah that's not me. Oh, there's that woman with the tits! Then the conga... oh, the conga... and, you know, I reckon it fades out at the exact moment I was about to come into view.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Seeing double

I was walking down the street yesterday when my close friend L stepped out of a shop and crossed the road in front of me.   Nothing unusual about that, you may think, except that L doesn't live here, nor work here, nor have any reason to travel 50 miles to come here (except to see me in which case she'd have phoned first.)  See, it wasn't L.  But it looked so much like her that I was very slightly freaked out.  Same lovely face, same curly hair, same height, the same walk even, and dressed in clothes I've seen L wear – brown jacket, jeans, long boots. I must have gawped, transfixed; I know I turned my head to let my eyes follow her as she disappeared behind me, all the while thinking, “Is it? Could it be?”

They say that at any one time everyone has a natural lookalike somewhere – a doppelgänger (from the German 'double-goer').  It seems I've had a few over the years; not that long ago I could rarely go into my nearest town without complete strangers greeting me, waving to me across the road, once even stopping to chat before realising I wasn't who they thought I was.  One time I met a man with his young daughter and noticed that he was looking at me with a somewhat disturbed expression (hey, stop whatever it is you're thinking...).  Then when we talked briefly and he studied me with an even more disconcerting intensity, he explained that I was the spitting image of his little girl's mum. I didn't like to ask if she was still around...but it occurred to me that if she wasn't, then it was no wonder my similar face may have been quite haunting for him.  Another time I met an elderly woman who said I looked just like her daughter and that I even had the same mannerisms.  As I tilted my head to the side (that was one of them) and looked closely at the old lady's eyes and the shape of her face, I found there was a familiarity... just something of my mother in her features; I guess that stacks up.  Was it even possible that somewhere along the line, too long ago to track, we shared some ancestral genes?  Or is it just that there aren't really that many varieties of faces to be shared amongst the entire population – I mean, we all fall into types, don't we?

I just hope I never see my own doppelgänger.  For one thing I imagine it would be totally freaky (for both of us) but there's a whole folklore thing connected to it too – it's meant to be an 'omen of death'! In some traditions, seeing the lookalike of a friend or relative is pretty dodgy too and is supposed to signify bad luck, illness or danger.  I think I'll just text L and check she's ok...

Not exactly a Kinks' soundalike

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Who are you calling 'four-eyes'?

Are we all sitting comfortably and wearing our glasses?  Did you put yours on just before you came here, or were you already peering through them?  Or are you half-and-half, looking over the top of them while they're perched further down your nose, like those of a stereotypical imperious head teacher? Perhaps you just need to put them on to read the tiny type on the Branston Pickle jar ('once open keep in the fridge and use within 6 weeks' - it's a pickle for fuck's sake!  We used to keep jars of pickle in the larder that were older than me that never did us any harm...)  Or maybe you've worn your specs daily for years, since childhood, and they're just something you're used to? I'm a varifocal girl these days.










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