Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Talk to the Slide Cos the Board Aint Listenin

The title has absolutely nothing to do with anything, I just irritated myself this afternoon by saying in a meeting "James, can you talk to this slide?" when referring to a printed out page of a powerpoint presentation. On the tube home this evening I was trying to think of the best way to ridicule this horrible turn of phrase adopted from US corporate culture (apologies to those of you who still might not understand what it means and to those of you who have posted on the same subject), and the title sounded marginally funnier than "I talk to the slides, but they don't listen to me". I also reflected on the fact, if fifteen years ago I'd asked someone to talk to a slide, I would have been in a park and psychotropic medication would have been involved.

I suppose it's tenuously related to a growing self awareness - it's a journey I've been on for a while now. Shit, reading that sentence back, I really am full of this much crap and actually, in these past few years of personal discovery, one of the most important lessons I learnt was via the Greek medium (yes I did - in Athens) who told me, "In your working life you are a Thatcher, in your personal life a wanker" (translated directly from the Greek). Which proved both revealing and responsible for a certain warmth towards the Iron Lady; that and the senile fragility (hers) as well as the belief that my life has similarly picked up a little since my voice lowered and I've managed to survive on less than six hours' sleep a night. It's only a matter of time before I go for the upswept power bouffant.

Continuing on an 80s tip, as well as my Thatcherish tendencies and decadent champagne quaffing at the weekend, I also went to see Morrissey and The Crucible at the Gielgud (latter has a personal connection with the 80s - it's the last time I saw it). Both were incredible, highly recommended - I madly applauded Miller's masterpiece (everything about this RSC production excellent) and wished I had the balls to stand up and shout "bravo" - book now to avoid disappointment.

Sunday was the last night of Morrissey's tour which we managed to wangle tickets for at the last minute. He opened with Panic and finished with Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, and this time I found myself far less inhibited - I squawked when he came on, swooned when he looked up at me (and the other fans) teetering in the gods of the Palladium, and when he claimed that "You have Killed Me" I actually found myself screeching "WE LOVE YOU" (that's the royal we). And as for when he removed his shirt, rubbed it over his sweaty torso and threw it into the crowd...

This weekend is far more contemporary, off to see Fuerzabruta at the newly reopened Roundhouse. Will supply a sentence review.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reappraising Teen Beliefs: Fame & Nuclear Power

As I luxuriated in the bath of my penthouse suite this morning, singing along to the bathroom's plasma screen tv showing VH1's top 100 love songs, it occurred to me that some of my teenage dreams had come true. I had managed to find myself with a partner who would whisk me off to a fancy hotel for the weekend "and hang the expense". Ok, so we got a free upgrade to the suite, but you gotta be in it to win it, right? This was more than an amuse bouche of the life that Jackie Collins had promised my sweaty teen self.

It also occurred to me that as I believed that Simon Cowell was in the hotel (one of the other Celebrity X-factor judges had already been spotted and the name "Cowell" was before mine on the honesty bar list [large g&t]) I actually wondered, admittedly for only a split second, whether he might hear me singing Jennifer Rush's The Power of Love and be impressed with my talent, maybe enough to wonder what I looked like, maybe even find out who I was.

Amused and ashamed, I confessed this to Rob. At 33 does it still count as "immature" or even "stunted" to hold out hope of being discovered as a pop sensation especially when combined with a genuine lack of singing ability? The whole scenario could be a multiple choice question for borderline personality disorder: "Do you, or have you ever, thought that you will be discovered by talent scouts after the age of 21?"

I'm trying to rationalize it as part of a streak of idealism that with the help of my teenage diaries I can track back. Whilst for the most part they detail my pining for and stalking of famous homosexuals and floppy-haired (relatively) posh boys, occasionally the fierceness of ambition, both for myself and society, is quite touching. I really did think we could bring about the end of racism and homophobia with the right t-shirt and a Billy Bragg song, and that it might be me announcing it on the front cover of The Face.

Which brings me onto Nuclear Power. As a paid-up member of Youth CND (the leaflets look just the same) I was taught anything with the word "nuclear" in it was wrong and my instinct, based largely on those rusting badge slogans, is that it is not a good thing. This was the science that brought us Chernobyl (BBC video report here) and the three-eyed fish, Blinky, in The Simpsons, and isn't there some sort of connection with the nuclear weapons industry which was itself inherently evil and an integral part of the Cold War of which I did not approve (and neither did Frankie Goes to Hollywood)?

But then along comes Blair and a number of other governments such as Australia, saying that invigorating our nuclear power supplies will allow us less reliance on carbon-based energy sources. Green is the new red, the colour that is inherently "right" (on?) - and is it more green to be a supporter of nuclear power? I want my teenage self to come and tell me what to think! Snake-eyed Cameron and his pouting public schoolboys have got me in even more of a tizzy, questioning these claims (Zac is opposed, sigh) but not coming up with a position. I realise now I just replaced Jesus and JP II with Ben Elton and Trotsky but at times like these I regret that the sustaining power of blind faith deserted me the day I left full-time education.

So as of the next few weeks I am going to force myself to have a view, read the articles, watch all the programmes I can - any suggestions gratefully received.

But whilst I might not really believe now that I'll be famous and maybe I will end up agreeing that nuclear power is the best of a bad lot in the short term, I will return to my original point to leave me with some vestige of pride in my historical and current self despite my slightly distasteful materialist focus.

After all, I did end up with a (relatively) posh boy who bought me champagne (and a Cornish pasty) in a fabulous hotel and have numerous gay friends who at the very least deserve to be famous. And I'll never, ever vote Conservative (however floppy their hair).

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm back

I was inspired to start communicating again this weekend by a conversation at the Bafta Television Craft awards about owl pellets (amongst other things). Consider these posts my pellets; excreta I am compelled to leave behind with no intrinsic value but that may reveal traces of something interesting if dissected correctly.

My other obsession du weekend is Big Brother. Yes, a little because my team built the site and the changes to its design and inclusion of free video have me fraught with concern, but really because I have no idea if any of these people will crawl into my subconscious as they have in most previous years (that's the contestants, not my team). I will be forced to see them daily for the next 3 months, I need them to find a way in. The true heroes of the piece are yet to emerge and I nervously await my genuine engagement.

For the record, I didn't want Finland to win the Eurovision song contest. Turkey did it for me, I'm a traditionalist, although she sounds a bit like Victoria Wood on second listen. Oh, and I had nothing to do with the work that was nominated for the Bafta, but that wasn't why we didn't win.