Skip to main content

Lagging on the cultural front

If there's one cultural event I regret not having seen it's Jerusalem. It totally passed me by. I had been about to book tickets before Christmas and then didn't. What made it worse was when my colleague arrived into wirk last week and said: 'you'd love it'! And as of last week it is over. Today I found myself trawling the online news to see whether it would go to Broadway for another run - perfectly willing to arrange a weekend's trip to see it. Mark Rylance was reported as saying that he may resume the role in five or six years, if the appetite is there. Come on BBC, how about filming a special performance?

Tickets for Hockney's exhibition at the Royal Academy are also being snapped up left, right and centre. I don't care to mention Hirst, about whom I hope future fables will be written in the vein of The Emperor's New Clothes! It makes me realise that London is the hotbed of culture. And for that reason alone I can't see myself ever leaving this city, which so many of us adopt with the fervour far greater than the native. Nor have I yet been to see The Artist, or Shame, or Margaret. (Forget The Iron Lady.) It would seem I've fallen a little behind on the cultural front. What have I been doing? Well, working, writing, nursing headaches. Puking up, yes, seriously. I'm not sure if I've had/got some sort of stomach virus but the past week has been physically testing. Although one evening I felt so subdued it actually had me in a good tone to write from the deep, poignant part of myself. I also neglected to book a massage, since November, despite now knowing that they ease the stress and reduce the headaches. That was rectified today though as I treated myself to an hour long deep tissue massage at Earthlife, in an arch beneath Kew Bridge. Having my arms included was a revelation, not least because the masseuse had to say twice 'relax your (left) arm', which I found difficult. I hadn't realised that the arms bear the brunt just as much as the neck and shoulders when one spends every day desk bound, head always a little forward, shoulders hunched - and arms always (like now) held aloft to enable the constant tapping, writing, carrying, holding onto tube rails in rush hour.
Anyway, not much of a post, but that's all I can muster for today. I'm almost at the end of Howards End. I'm also dipping into Sean O'Brien's poetry 'November', which hasn't yet touched the spot, having failed to reveal any truths to me. I'm also reading this werk's Times Lit Supp, London Review of Books, and for a bit of a change, The New Yorker.
Onwards. With nurofen and pepto-bismol aka 'the pink stuff'.


Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…