Monday, January 31, 2005

If only I could...

I start this post without really knowing how it's going to continue or what I'm going to say. My primary concern at the moment is that the one comment I've so far received will fall off the bottom of my main page when this is added, leaving my barely formed blog to look like an unwanted and unecessary appendage to blog world: 0 comments, 0 comments, 0 comments, 0 comments...

My problem is that I want to speak to the world but I don't know what to say or how to say it. Some people can transform their gut feelings into coherent, meaningful sentences so easily. I'm a fan of the folk singer Vin Garbutt for the very reason that he speaks to me with his words, in a seemingly effortless effort to make me think. He can say, "The youth of England wears a frown; they've nowhere to feed their soul," and only sound genuine, not contrived, or preachy, or arrogant.

I suppose I'm searching for somewhere to feed my soul, if I'm allowed to steal the muse of the great man and say that. I've poured my heart out in clumsy poetry; I've twisted and stretched and remained yoga-calm with the effort; I've even listened to classical music. When am I going to feel content? And does blogging have this mysterious ability to provide nutrition for my inner being?

If only I could sing.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Oooh, new shoes?

After the high excitement of yesterday's match, where I endured the icy cold to witness a fine late strike seal another good win for my lowly football team, the only task for today, other than catching the train back to Oxford, was to buy a pair of shoes.

It's not like me to talk about shoes. The highs and lows and ins and outs of the the fashion industry hold very little appeal for me. Why some women feel the need to have whole collections of shoes, along with matching handbags, is a mystery to me, in the same way that some women just smile pleasantly without a modicum of actual interest when I talk about football, or computers, or Stargate Atlantis.

But, I can't escape the fact that I need a new pair of shoes. You see, all shoes seem incapable of coping with the obviously unusual way I walk, and after several months of daily wear, the soles develop a noticable slope towards the inside. Now, it surely can't be good to be walking along with my feet leaning over at a forty five degree angle, or else shoes would come like that in the first place. Hence this morning's trip to TK Maxx, that famous cut price store with too many Xs in it's name, with the aim of getting hold of a decent pair of work shoes at a discount price. Only it turns out that woman are meant to wear shoes that are flat and roundy, or pointy, or flowery, or suedey, or just plain nasty, and only children are meant to wear the sort of shoes I want to have. As hard as I try, my feet just won't fit into those size threes, though I'd very much like them to, if not for style then for tax saving purposes.

So I have no new shoes. I shall walk to work tomorrow with my feet sloping at a dangerous angle. The left one in particular will turn over at the ankle at least three times, and the person walking behind me will laugh quietly.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

A time for sleeping

I write this in a fuzzy headed, Bacardi Breezer induced state of intoxication. This is because at my parents' house there is free alcohol. However, this also means that I feel incapable of forming coherent, intelligent thoughts. So I won't even try.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sing when you're winning

Yesterday's post has become a landmark in my short blogging career, as it received my very first comment. I have been told, in no uncertain terms, to, "Get off your butt!", which is very good advice. So good, in fact, that I've taken it. I write this entry not from the eternal comfort of my magnolia room, but from a train. A very busy train. My stop is coming up shortly so I have no doubt that I'll finish the post from another location, but this is where it started, on the 18:03 from Oxford to The North.

The reason for this journey is to pay homage to my football team (or soccer if you're that way inclined) whilst also indulging my parents in their wish to see me every now and then. But it's mainly about the football. Giddy from a five nil win earlier in the week, the prospect of spending a bitter January afternoon standing on the terraces has never been more appealing, especially now we have a roof. A roof! They'll be putting seats in soon, heated seats, with soft cushions and a stash of complimentary peanuts.... To be fair, we've had a roof for a while - it's just the away fans that get soaked to the skin. Cue the singing: "We're so dry it's unbelievable!" Really, I heard that once.

Never forget

During a lazy session of late night blog surfing, procrastinating (did I mention I'm good at that?) over shifting myself from being sat on the bed to being asleep in the bed, I have been reminded that today is Holocaust memorial day.

The blog in question is showing a stunning photograph from the memorial service that was held in Auschwitz today. Against a background of sympathetic snow, two blurry silhouettes are holding on to each other, as though they need support to keep themselves from falling on the slippery ground. In the immediate foreground of the picture and in sharp focus is a single memorial candle. You can almost see the flame flicker in the wintry breeze.

Looking at the photograph, I was overcome by the juxtaposition of the warm and the cold, between the flame and the snow. It seemed so fitting for a gathering of people remembering something so terrible. This is the warmth of humanity standing in front of the cold tyranny of evil, an image reinforced by the two people supporting each other on the icy ground. The soft focus of the figures stimulates the imagination and makes you regard the pair as holocaust survivors, struggling in the cold now as then.

It's at this point that I should provide a link to the photograph. Or at least mention the name of the blog it's on. But I can't. I was using Blogger's nav bar to skip happily from random blog to random blog, and was several skips away before I realised I wanted to go back. Except I can't navigate back, because each time I do I get Rubber duck adventures, which I like very much when I'm not looking for a picture from a Holocaust memorial service...

I hope my description above does the photograph justice. There's not much else I can really say, except this:

Six million people, including one million children, were murdered during the Holocaust. Let's hope we never forget.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A magnolia by any other name

I thought about a name for this blog for a long time without coming up with anything that was right. Nothing seemed to express what I wanted it to, although I wasn't sure what I wanted it to express... So, I thought I'd try what I do when I write a poem, which is look through the finished lines for interesting words or phrases and take it from there.

I read over my first post, and the word magnolia just grabbed me. There were so many possibilities for that word. It's a beautiful flower, but also the bland paint colour that's always on special offer in the DIY store. It's come to be synonymous with poor taste, yet the syllables fall off the tongue as though it were a one word poem describing the most elegant thing in the world. And it's the colour of these four walls (although I'm sure the tin said barley white or some other such euphemism).

So I took magnolia because I liked it, and then I added the word "blue" to the front. Blue magnolia. How clever, I thought, because how can magnolia be blue? It's like saying "orange red" or "purple green". It's just not possible. And yet it is, because both words mean more than that.

Why blue? Because I am blue. Not that I'm sad, just that blue is my colour. It's the colour of my clothes, my football team, my favourite book and my duvet cover. Magnolia is a metaphor for my life : a literal representation of this house and its magnolia walls, but also a symbol of the plain, the ordinary. Blue magnolia therefore becomes an attempt to escape from the mundane, to turn the everyday into something different. It's me breaking out of these four walls and turning the magnolia blue.

How original, I thought.

Except now I discover that not only is blue magnolia a real flower, but several other people have used it as a name first. There's an English jazz band called Blue Magnolia, and an arty ebay shop too. Yet now I've mused over it so much and invested the phrase with so much meaning I'm not sure I want to give it up.

And I still can't believe there are real blue magnolias out there. It'll be blue daffodils next.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Welcome to my world

So, this is it. The first tentative steps into blog world. Is there some sort of formula for this? Will I be cast into cyberspace oblivion and ignored forever if I don't follow the esoteric How all good bloggers begin rules? No? That's good then, because I couldn't find them anywhere.

I think I ought to begin by setting the scene. Right now I'm sitting on the bed in my cluttered magnolia room, baby Powerbook on my knee. The depressing sound of Morrisey's I have forgiven Jesus is drifting through the wall from the room next door. Sitting on the bed next to me while I type are a sadly overused cheque book, a mobile phone and a small bear named Ciaran. I'm wearing a t-shirt from Jesus Christ Superstar; Ciaran is sporting a little green number with IRELAND emblazoned across the front. He's lying on his back staring at the ceiling... I think he might be dead.

Oh, and I have a new plant, also green.

In an effort to be the honest, self-deprecating blogger that my muse instructs me to be, I'm bound to say this: this life isn't interesting, exciting or newsworthy at all, unless you're fascinated by the nine to five routine of a young librarian with no money and an unhealthy obsession with procrastination. But then there's this blog. The general idea is that if the words I manage to ramble onto these pages can be intelligent and thought provoking, or at least entertaining, then it won't matter that the rest of my day was like a page out of How not to change the world for dummies.