Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sunday Summary | Bye Bye Fisticuffs*

Dear FOQ

Hope we're all well and enjoying our Sundays. Somehow I've managed to construct a  lengthy post out of a fairly quiet fortnight.

Do I get a prize for that?


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Writing ✍

And by writing I do mean making copious, copious backstory notes on the elusive Novel.

I do believe there is a quote out there in the Pinterest-o-sphere along the lines of Overplanning kills magic; well, that may be true but there's nothing worse than reading through your work at a later date and tripping over a plot hole or anomaly that you didn't foresee.

I need to be fully ensconced in the world myself before I recreate it in writing for anyone else (theoretically speaking); I need to know the backstory before I can allude to it.

The struggle of constructing plausible fiction is real, y'all!

But on the plus side ... I am teaching myself to assuage the inevitable daily Southern-Rail-restricted-timetable-based-RAGE

{Patsy had just found out that she had over an hour to wait
at Tonbridge station for the next service home due to a shortage
of train crew ...}
by reminding myself that any delay means more time to scribble random statements about the story in my lil' notebook.

So that's nice.

Reading 📚

... in between the frenzied novel-note-making:

{The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood}
and finishing:

{Walking Away | Simon Armitage}
whilst sitting out in the park this very afternoon, with my 99 Flake (newsagent edition) and playlist of summer tunes.

(And yes. I had suncream on.)

Watching 👀📺

The Handmaid's Tale

which just gets darker and darker by the week.

Also watching

... this documentary film: Enlighten Us {trailer via CNN}.

... I hear you ask.


Well, FOQ, here's the why.

About three years ago I read this book:

{Tragedy in Sedona | Connie Joy}
which has, in part, instructed the development of one of the characters in that novel it's taking me for, like, ever to write.

{It's actually not. Writing well is the hard part.}

Since I've resurrected said novel, my curiosity about the story of James Ray has resurrected itself as well, and I fell down a Research Rabbit-hole:

{Illustration: Tom Gauld | via here}

that resulted in me discovering the documentary on Netflix, no less.

{Screengrab via Netflix}
It makes for sobering viewing. Ray is charismatic, all right (well, he was, before his prison sentence; now he comes across as pathetic and deluded in a much more public way than in the footage from before 2009); but he can often turn, shouting down his audience, telling them they're talking nonsense; and there is a cold, dead look behind his eyes especially at the end of the documentary that quite frankly gives me the almighty wiggins:

(and his teeth are much-too-white to be trusted ...)

His propensity to turn the deaths of three of his devotees in one of his sweat lodges into 'an accident' which 'happened to him' is cloying and downright offensive. At times he admits responsibility; at other times he tries to spin the deaths of those three people into a 'learning experience', and his performances at his events post-prison are borderline embarrassing – for Ray himself but also for all the people still determined to follow his teachings in spite of his fall from glory.

One does wonder about the mental fragility and the downright gullibility of the people who looked, or even still now, look to him for guidance, paid him extortionate amounts of money for his courses and then allowed him to push them to their physical limits, and beyond, all in the pursuit of emotional development.

Scary. But a fascinating character study.

... Is that an awful thing to say?

Also watching:

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

which is based on this YA novel by Rachel Cohn and David "Literary Leviathan" Levithan, which I read way back when.

{Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List | Rachel Cohn & David Levithan}
The film is actually highly enjoyable, even though the character of Naomi is just as self-absorbed and arrogant as in the book (newsflash, Nomes, it's really, really not all about you; stop exercising your 'beautiful girl privileges' and taking what you think you're entitled to because of said privilege, you callous little girl). The soundtrack is pretty great, too; all a little edgy and young.

Oh and I have also been watching:

Blue Jasmine

Because, Cate Blanchett and my goodness she is eerie as heck in this film. (Good-eerie, of course.)

Listening 👂🎶

... to a lot, and I mean a lot, of 90s dance:

Tearing up the dance floor and showing the Youff of Crawley how it's done 👵💃

... with this one:

who proposed that we go clubbing, at the same hot spot we used to tear up back in the day.

{Then: Diva/Ikon. Now: Moka}

It's less a hot spot now, more a dodgy warm patch in spite of its impressive decor.

Things didn't kick off on the dance floor until gone midnight (and we'd been there a while before that, me throwing back this rather magnificent cocktail in a jar: seriously, Crawley, are you hipster now?!):

{I see what you did there. You punned. I approve.}
And when the DJ was giving shouts out to clubbers celebrating their nineteenth birthdays we sort of knew this was not the place for us.
DJ: Happy nineteenth birthday to Shanaeeeee!
Me: Egads, I'm the age equivalent of 
two nineteen year-olds

Plus, the DJ was clearly sleeping through the all-crucial class in DJ school that teaches one how to, er, well, mix and find the freakin' beat. 

Correct me if I'm wrong but surely even mashed-up songs are supposed to blend seamlessly and not crash into each other like teenagers on Dodgems under the influence of too many Panda pops [other forms of legalised aspartame are available].

The noise, and the quest to find the beat. ... I don't remember clubbing being such hard work when we woz young. And by the by, if you start shouting "all the single ladies!" over a song (notably this one, right, Natalie?:

*aka the "Bye Bye Fisticuffs" song, if you're as astute at mishearing lyrics as I am)

people are going to expect ... Single Ladies up next.

 Not so much.

But. All that aside, it was a great, great laugh and the posing opportunities along made it worth our while. As did the morning fry-up.

Here be some photographic visual aids (most taken by Natalie, one or two by me):
{"You'll find me in the club ... or the station car park, w'evs."}

{for when you don't understand the rituals and sartorial choices of the Young}

{We may have a collective age of 78 but by George we're still adorbs enough
to warrant an official Club Photo.}

{The kettle's on so don't be long, mon cher ...}

{Restorative fry-up}
 And before I segue onto the next item on the agenda, may I give my bestest of best friends a massive thank-you shout-out for teaching me the Secret of the Selfie?

{Word to the wise: this is not the secret.}

I am of course still trying to work it in my favour but I have the tools. I just have to use them for good. Right?

Plotting and planning 📅

Now. By the next time you read this 'ere blog, I shall have celebrated yet another birthday. 

Probably in this sort of manner:

Why yes, I am soon to be of the age 39. Which is slightly sobering because, hello, single, childless, still not finished that Novel, etc etc.

And yes, I should stop measuring the achievements and status of my life against everyone else's and hello, check out my rack:

{Medal rack; it's a medal rack, people}
But, to that end, and in the spirit of marking achievement, I am in the process of constructing a list I'm titling 40 for 40.

This will comprise 40 things to do during my 'forty' year (so, in the lead-up to 40 – from a day after my birthday this year to the day before my 41st, giving me plenty of time to achieve all the things!).

And here's where you come in, my lovely readers, my FOQ.

I am up to 23 items at the last count and no, I shan't divulge what they are quite yet.

I am looking for inspiration for the outstanding 17 items.

So, I ask you, dear FOQ:

Is there anything you've done, or anywhere you've been, that has proven a pivotal moment in your life?  
If you've passed a notable chronological milestone in your life and chosen to mark it in a similar way ... how did you do it, and would you recommend it?

Please send your thoughts to me via email at or if you have a Google account and can comment on the blog, please do that!

Nobody's commented for months.

I feel bereft.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight 📌

Side note: Pinterest removed its Like button.

Do I not Like that.

What I Like is pictures of flamingos, images of how my life might be if I ever buy a house and decorate it entirely in palm tree wallpaper and Eames rockers; inspirational quotes, and Aidan Turner's lovely face.

{o hai}

Do I not Like "Promoted Pin: Expensive sofas promoted by Sofas4U on Pinterest".

I also do not Like the new "Set yourself a reminder to try this later" option.

I can't exactly remind myself to Try Aidan Turner's Lovely Face at a given time, now, can I?

Much as I'd love to.

It's nonsensical, is what it is.

Sort it out, Pinterest; you used to have integrity. Grr.

Right. Moving swiftly on ...

Fortnightly Web Finds 🕸🔎


Audrey Tautou, photographer | on NYTimes | via Emily

Flatpack food prep | A genius idea by IKEA for reluctant cooks | on The Daily Quicky


• Love this InspiroBot site which generates meaningless (though occasionally profound) inspirational quotes at the click of a button:

{via here | with thanks to Edd}
• When your favourite song comes on | on YouTube | thanks to Juan for this treat; I wept laughing at this. Twice.

• This is just bonkers! | Orange is the New Snack | OITNB parody on Sesame Street | on YouTube | with thanks to Cloee C

I love the Red puppet.

• The latest Musicless Music Video by Mario Wienerroither is perhaps less snorfle-worthy than previous but worth watching just by virtue of the way Bowie and Mercury's voices are somehow singled out. | on YouTube

(Side note: I really miss David Bowie.)


And, in the words of an onion-seller, that's shallot.

See you in a couple of weeks for more blognanigans. Keep cool. Wear. Sunscreen.

qb xx

1 comment:

  1. Dear QB
    Thoroughly recommend climbing Mount Sinai, setting of in the dark, so that you reach the summit at sunrise. If you happen to do so at the same time as some nuns and a gospel choir, both of whom begin to sing, beautifully and on opposite sides of the chapel at the top of the mountain, as the sun comes up, it's even better! I'm not a religious person, but it was the most spiritual moments of my life to date, and still brings a tear to the eye.
    In addition, if doing something very similar to something that you have already done is permitted on your 40 for 40 list, your company would be most welcome on a walking challenge next year - assuming I can find one that fits in your time frame!