Saturday, June 21, 2008
cold days from the birdhouse
this will probably be the last post for about a week. i promise i'll try and write something at least once a fortnight, even if it means forgoing dinner or something. stupid exchange rates.
i'd been trying to write thursday's post for about three days and when it finally got to thursday i had a hangover and wasn't particularly impressed with anything. so.
adventure with my second cousin freddie
is my paternal grandmother's father's sister's grandson. i think. we're not sure if we're actually related at all, but we met at Embankment and there was something that just made us go "ah, family!" i think really we were just after an excuse to drink. which we did in Covenant Garden which is very quaint and full of italians. we had dinner in a theatre/music place called Joe Allens and i dont remember what i had except more white wine. and then some more. and then some beer. and then we got rained on. and then somehow i was back at Hazels. but it was nice to hang out with someone who understands my ability to forgive Snow Patrol for "Chasing Cars". we're going to try and meet up in Paris to see Bark Cat Bark. actually, i think the thing that made us realise we were related was that we're both quite small. he's about 5ft7 and i'm 5ft. oh, and freddie, emily (his first cousin) and i all played the cello at the salubrious private schools we were sent to.
adventure with my cousin-once-removed Elaine
so. thursday morning, still in the throes of hangover i tottered off to Baker Street Station (which has tiles with Sherlock Holmes! but i felt too ill to take a photo) where i met up with Elaine, the sister of Lisa (who many of you have heard stories about her wonderdog Jarvis). both are cousins of my dad, so once removed from me? whatever, it was fun. well. kind of. we traipsed up and down Oxford Steet, Elaine thrilled that she had a "daughter for the day" (her words not mine) and refused to let me pay for anything! I ended up bullying her into letting me pay for lunch, but when i fell in love with grapefruit coloured cotton skirt, i suddenly found myself in possession of it as a birthday present(granted it wasn't stupidly expensive, but still!) but Oxford Street is mad, as is much of London. i found a bag that fitted all my requirements for handbag (zip, big, not plastic) except for its weird caramel colour, which i'm still not completely sold on. but for £10 (discounted from £30) i couldn't really say no to it. then we caught the train back to Elaine's place in Stoke-Mandeville. very picker-esque. picked up Elaine's husband Sean and went to dinner at Chequers, which is old school english pub. food was lovely. it didn't get dark until about 10pm, so we didnt really end up in bed until half past midnightish, i think. i do know that i woke up with a cat on my chest this morning, a big fat thing called Toby.
caught the train back to Maryleborne, then from Baker St to Finchely then bus to Golders and now i'm knackered. i go to Amsterdam tomorrow, which i'm terrified and excited about. i have to leave here at about 6am, which will be fun, and then i'll have to find the hostel once i do get there.
i don't really know what to make of London. there are far too many tourists (which is not the same as foreigners, thank you very much mr racist bus driver) and far too many people looking annoyed. it smells like one of my brothers socks if the sock had managed to survive for three billion years. but at the same time i've never been somewhere so alive. something is always happening and i imagine that whatever your taste, you can find it in London. but i don't really know if i could live there. my granny always told me "oh you'll love London the moment you get off the plane" but i'm not so sure. i think i could grow to love it here (i could move into thr BM or the Portrait Gallery or Ken Wood tomorrow) but it just feels too big. a person could disappear here. people probably do.
having said that, i've only really been here two weeks. i've barely scratched the surface. (athough i did go to Neasden. which was depressing) maybe when i come back at the end of august. maybe when i come back in the middle of november. maybe not.
i'm not really that homesick.
that's a lie.
mum rang me when i was in the V&A on wednesday, and after i spoke to her i had to leave The Supremes Exhibit and go and sit in the Cast Courts Room before i felt i could take on the world again. and there are a bunch of greek tourists who think that australians are insane because they see a plate with three girls drinking on it and get all weepy (for the record it made me think of our nights at the Shakey, alright?) and sometimes i see people sitting in cafes talking and suddenly there's a lump in my throat. i don't know. i'm too sensitive and too defensive for normality.
but i think i thought i'd leave and that would be it. that would be the end of my time in sydney and i wouldn't miss anyone or anything. but i put down roots there, made ties and bonds and friends and enemies. i grew up there and even if it never felt like home because of teenage angst, it is home. it's where the people i love are (and they fucking well better be missing me and my idiot tendencies) it's where i got drunk for the first time, where i saw my first gig, got stoned. it's where i've lived and i've left scars all over that city in the same way that city has left scars all over me. it's not so much that i miss the buildings or the people who i didn't know. but i miss having my city to bitch at, the same way that sydney probably misses having me to mess about with. there's one less scowling person on the train, one less professional cynical person in the dingy pubs, one less barton in our house (which is apparently falling down.) but at the same time i don't feel australian yet. i don't sound like an australian but i don't sound english or polish or nigerian. i sound like a maddie. a madeleine (i sound like a small cake) and even if i never get comfortable in my own skin i think i'm slowly adjusting to the fact that this is my skin and my body and i have it and i have to reach some sort of compromise, i can't be that wannabe headcase girl anymore. which is liberating really. i don't know what i'm writing really, if any of it makes sense or if its just pretentious and self indulgent, but thats the great thing about being my age. i'm allowed to say all these things and think all these wanky thoughts (because if i don't think them now i'll turn into a vegetable.) because i'm 'finding myself'
i just wish i'd left better directions.
i've managed to get my hands on some songs by The Twilight Sad. i wish i'd known about them before i'd gone to see them, i think i would have enjoyed them even more than i did. they're definitely fantastic.