Thursday, September 24, 2009


There are aspects of the University of the East that are desperately frustrating: the trigger-happy email system, for instance (did they buy it cheaply from China?) which chose two delete not only the complex email I'd sent to book studios and equipment for my students, but also the duplicate safety email, sent from another address in order to trick the trigger-happy email system.
Patiently, the man in the equipment store and myself Tried Not To Moan and did the whole lot again.

Then a house-panic occurred, the millionth of many seemingly insurmountable and frustrating problems. The estate agent's voice whined faintly against a sonic backdrop of jets taking off loudly from London City Airport and the outdoor disco to welcome new students ('Oh yes, we do this all the time here at the University of the East, you know!').
I broke into end-of-tether type perspiratiion.
As I waited for a slow-moving printer ( 'wait a minute' was ten minutes, and then seconds started to be added, so I left before my head exploded), I decided to give the rest of the morning a miss, and headed for the Woolwich ferry.

What a day-rescuing surprise it was!
Neatly packed between juggernauts, we swept over the Thames in a trice, unloaded ourselves without fuss, and I could deliver the dolls-house to Sarah's nursery classroom and hope all the bits were there to be put together.
I was too vexed by the morning's issues to stay for a cup of tea but it was nice to see Sarah even briefly, and the ferry did it again on the way back.
A gold lurex dragonfly crackled past the car window and settled on the leaf-green tarpaulin of a neighbouring eighteen-wheeler.
I leapt out to take a picture but it twinkled off, too shy perhaps, or maybe it wanted to show its party clothes to its lover before appearing on the cover of Hello.
As we docked, a lone starling sang its heart out on a rotten joist under the jetty, having found something utterly joyful to tell us all about in starlingese.

I went into the giant Tesco at Gallion's Reach. Ugh. I stood it for fifty seconds and had to leave- the noise, the bad manners, the volume of crappy stuff I didn't want, the trolley that thought it could go in four directions at once ( or at least the wheels did).

The rest of the afternoon was a chair-slumper as I tried to sort out the house-panic.
I looked at the semi-dismantled wardrobe. The eBay buyer had turned up alone to take away a big wardrobe. He had his mother in law with him, who sat looking ghostly in a chiffon scarf in the front window of his white van in the dark outside the house. He took off a door with much huffing and puffing, knocked a chunk out of the chimney breast as he tried to move it forward, and then left. I now have a doorless wardrobe that I can't sell.
Oh well
Oh well
A wardrobe
I can't sell
Bloody Hell
He paid all of £1.24 for it. Somehow I have the feeling that if he'd paid £50 he would have come back and taken it away the next day!

This evening I went over to Tottenham to play at Chances. The audience was sparse but the spirit was there. A Russian called Anton sang songs about booze and cigarettes that had a hint of Velvet Underground about them. There was a very good poet and a P.A. system that seemed to be doing everything it could to sabotage everyone's sets (maybe it has a Degree from the University of the East).
I like what Razz does at his nights- he mixes experienced and inexperienced performers, and it is touching to see people get more confident over a few weeks as they find their feet.

The day has been like a book made of chapters of different books slung together randomly, and reminded me of when we used to amuse ourselves at school by splicing sentences from our separate library books together during compulsory reading, making nonsense soup out of Heidi, Little Women and The Jungle Book as we read them aloud together with innocent faces while the fiendish teacher stalked the room.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:52 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

The dolls house is on its way to being mantled(opposite of diemantled?) by the heroic efforts of Little Sarah (I am big) and Dion! I would not have a chance without instructions but Sarah is a genius at that kind of thing. It was nice to see you yesterday. Hope the housey problems become sorted!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...


11:57 PM  

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