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w/e 2020-09-06

September: the start of a new year! Another one!

§ Over the past couple of days I’ve found the recent Noopiming Sessions EP by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson to be transporting and calming, which I’ve needed. It feels somewhere between music, audiobook and poetry.

§ In theory we’ve been on holiday this week. Occasionally in practice too – I have managed a little bit of mostly relaxed reading by the sea and it’s always lovely to be in Walton.

But, also, I’ve felt far too stressed and busy with making decisions, meeting removals people and decorators, doing client work on three days (so far), selling and giving away a few things we don’t need to move (goodbye bike), plus, of course, the constant hum of stress from the increasingly precedented times in which we’re living.

Some of this I don’t expect any sympathy for because it’s related to us preparing to let two flats which is hardly a woe-is-me position to be in. While I like to think I won’t be first against the wall when the revolution comes, I feel I’ve jumped forward several positions in the queue that leads to said wall. Nevertheless, the series of whether, how, when, what, and who decisions, the emotions of packing up homes, and my discomfort with dealing with strangers, have not made my stupid brain a pleasant place this week.

On the plus side, all the organising of things did necessitate two very brief visits to London, my first time there since January. Having missed the weirdest, quietest period it’s now all just slightly different to how I remember it, like stepping sideways into a shifted London where masks are worn, distances are kept, hand sanitiser is squirted, some businesses have closed temporarily or permanently, and buildings have come and gone. Aside from, you know, the ever present fear of illness or death it was really lovely to be back. All the interesting people and the interesting buildings! I was even able to see a few friends for coffee for the first time since last year and I was reassured to confirm that they still exist in 3D.

Today, even allowing for it being a Sunday, central London felt subdued, which… wasn’t necessarily a bad thing? I mean, it was nice that everywhere wasn’t crowded and over-busy like it would normally be. I’m not strictly saying that a killer virus clearing the city centre of people has made London a more pleasant place but maybe, even when the virus has been conquered, all tourists and B-Ark people (Hi!) could be restricted to a week-on week-off system for being outside in the central Zones?

§ I’ve been catching up on reading a backlog of magazines. In the world of the New York Review of Books I’m in last summer when they’re analysing the pros and cons of the many Democratic presidential nominees. Remember all of them, when they were the big news? Crazy days.

In the world of Sight & Sound I’m around the end of last year and the start of this one and, crikey, they say, 2019 was pretty rough wasn’t it! But here are loads of reasons why we hope 2020 will be great! Bless. You sweet, innocent 2019 children.

We’re also enjoying watching the new, fourth, season of This Farming Life which covers a year in the lives of several farming families, starting last September. They began by acknowledging that farmers have a tough year ahead because of the uncertainties of Brexit. Oh, I’m so, so sorry you poor wee things.

§ This week I finished reading Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl a memoir by Carrie Brownstein, one third of Sleater-Kinney. It was good, personal, and does its best to communicate the excitement and difficulties of forming a band, making music, touring, and all that, using many adjectives. It rarely made me wish I’d been in a band; it didn’t often sound fun.

I’ve always liked Sleater-Kinney a lot but the book made me realise the vast, vast distance between my experience of the music as a fan and the band’s. For them each of their albums is entirely different, originating in very different struggles and tensions, with contrasting styles and sounds… but they all sound much the same to me (in a good way) and I realised how few of the lyrics — which to them are so personal and meaningful — I’d really listened to.

§ This week we watched the second season of My Brilliant Friend and… it was OK. We enjoyed the first season a lot, watching the girls grow up from children into their late teens, but most of the second was a bit dull. A lot less happened and much of it was focused on quite boring or ill-suited relationships breaking up our not quite being made. I cared even less about Lila than I did before and Elena has become more insipid and less of an active protagonist. I haven’t read the books but I hope it gets more interesting.

§ That’s all, it’s bed time. Happy new year!

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  1. This Farming Life is great, isn't it. Was so glad to see it back.

  2. It’s lovely isn’t it. Everyone seems nice, and there’s a limited amount of fake TV jeopardy. I’m always sad to say goodbye at the end of a year.