This weekend has been a long one, mainly because it started on Thursday lunchtime. I headed straight from work to Brighton, met Sophy for dinner, then headed to The Enchantment Under the Sea dance. I had a great time, meeting up with lots of friends, some I’d not seen in months. The performances included singing from Raquel Merlot (with an accordian accompanied cover of I’m on Fire) and burlesque from Honey Moon and Baby Bones.
Kitty Peels did an act based on Back to The Future, for which I was the ‘man prop’. My job was to sit onstage and act bored as Kitty undressed. Since I was ignoring Kitty I didn’t see the act, but the audience seemed to like it. After the dance I returned to Hove, stopping off at the soon-to-be-sold market diner. Eating burgers at 3am with a friend in a Munroe-style dress seemed a fitting send-off to the place.
Next morning I was up early for my run, then spent the afternoon catching up with friends and doing a little shopping. I headed back to Coventry yesterday to meet Jo, who’d hitched up from Brighton. We went to her Aunt’s 50th birthday party, then made the long walk back to the city centre.
It’s been a good weekend. Not sure when I’ll next be in Brighton, but I hope it won’t be too long.
There are some interesting blogs coming out of Brighton looking at alternative ways of living. One is the fantastic A long way from Eden, whose author, Jo, visited me in Coventry this weekend. A new blog, by a former housemate of mine, is Beth Eats Local:
"From June 1st
2008 to May 31st 2009 every item of food that I eat and every
ingredient that goes into that food is going to come from a one hundred
mile radius of my home in Brighton. If I’m travelling, food has to come
from either a one hundred mile radius of where I am, or from one
hundred miles of Brighton. I’m vegetarian, and I’m going to try to eat
organic wherever possible. Am I crazy? Undoubtedly. Am I going to
cheat? Not if I can help it. Am I going to starve? You’ve gotta hope
Something Jo pointed out to me is that the difficult bit in making lifestyle changes is often the research: what do vegans eat for breakfast? But once you've found a alternative (cereal with soya milk, toast with vegan spread, fruit, porridge) you don't need to find it again. Providing Beth doesn't starve to death, I'm hoping to see lots of interesting ideas for local food.
Another attraction of local eating (speaking as a spectator, rather than a participant) is the idea that you are more likely to have some sort of interaction with the people producing your food. I imagine Beth is likely to meet some interesting people.
Today was my first proper day of half-marathon training. I started with an early morning run, 6.5 miles, from King Alfred's to the Marina and back. The longest distance I'd run before was 4 miles so I was quite pleased to manage come back in just over 55 minutes.
At last night's event I was talking with someone about running and they said they found it boring. They'd heard people say it felt good, but couldn't imagine that. I always felt the same way but I've found that, once I've managed the first mile, I'm carried away by the rhythm of running. It's a different feeling to anything else I know.
After a quick shower I visited the Run shop on Blatchington Road to buy a new pair of running shoes. These should be more suitable for my own feet and will hopefully prevent any damage as I work on longer distances. The fitting process at Run is quite involved, including video analysis and test driving, but I came out feeling very happy about the shoes I'd bought. Hopefully I can try them out properly on Sunday when I'm back in Coventry.
I'm continuing to enjoy the fitness sessions but I've been looking around for something to train for. At the weekend my cousin mentioned the Cross-Bay Run, a half marathon across Morecombe bay. I have about eleven weeks to build myself up to the distance but I have no fear. I ran the Santa Dash, a three mile run along Brighton seafront in the rain. Thirteen miles through the sands of Morecombe bay? Piece of piss.
But I'm going to train hard, just in case.
So much of what I read is forgettable. There are whole novels from which I retain nothing but an impression of like or dislike. I recently found an online copy of a short story I remembered from when I was twelve, Light of Other Days. It's even better than I recalled.
- Brilliant article on the last 10 years in literature. I don't agree with the predictions in the final section, but it's an interesting summary of the changes in recent years.
- Bookselling for Dummies – I wonder how much longer bookshops will exist on the high street?
- Brighton's Market Diner is being sold. I have some great memories of that place. I think I shall make a visit on Thursday night, after the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
- The ease of placing a 'fake' news story (via As Above)
- The Guardian on Britain's thriving poetry scene, an article which discusses none of the thriving areas of British poetry I know and enjoy. That so much is happening can only be a good thing for British poetry.
Here are two photos I took a while back from Coventry cathedral tower. The first is the view towards my house; the second shows the big blue slaughterhouse
I think I’ve mentioned that Coventry is the most inland city in the UK. Last night, lying in bed, I thought how lovely it would be to walk to the beach and watch the waves roll onto the sea. Homesickness can be a good thing though, because it means you have a home.
- I love the idea of secret histories, of unlikely characters shaping events from the shadows. Jim the Fixer is the Daily Mail’s follow-up to an Esquire article claiming that Jimmy Saville has been an important figure in Britain’s corridors of power, as well as addressing the Knesset after the six-day war.
- Recession – who cares?
- Our data, ourselves is an essay by Bruce Schneier arguing that "Our data is a part of us". Implicit in his argument is that something is changing about what a human being is and our boundaries.
- Why are we ignoring organised crime – questioning the money spent on terrorism rather than crime which has a wider impact.
Public transport on a Sunday is miserable. I left my sister’s house at 9:30 and won’t be home until 2pm. That’s four and a half hours to travel about 30 miles. By car it’s a one hour journey.
Blaming other people gets me nowhere. Trains have been appalling on a Sunday as long as I can remember. I made a choice not to learn to drive but that now seems ridiculous. If I want to travel on a Sunday (if I want to visit anywhere on the weekend) I need to learn to drive. Otherwise I can stay put, choosing not to ruin relaxing weekends by ending them with the misery of rail replacement buses and waits in bad railway cafes.
Now to kill the next 80 minutes looking round a mall. It’s hard not to conclude modern life is a waste of time.