Two Steps Ahead

The Guardian is running a series of semi-humourous columns called This Column Will Change Your Life and I hit upon It's Not Easy Always Being Right the other night. I don't think I'm always right - I live in  shades of grey - but I know that I often feel like I'm outsmarting people (mostly myself) which is a bastardised form of Always Being Right, of course. Unfortunately this "outsmarting people" is not particularly useful. I am not outsmarting bankers in order to make hefty profits, for instance. My brain is far more useless than that: I'm always two steps ahead of whatever I am supposed to be doing. A typical example of a telephone conversation would be: "Yes, you have misspelled my name, but I would like to address the legal issues surrounding .. okay, it's K. A. .. can we just look at section 7 befo .. yes, K.A. R..." and when I type I miss out words because my brain is always three or four sentences ahead of whatever I'm typing.

Now imagine how I read. I read very fast and can wolf down a book in a couple of hours. About ten years ago I decided that I needed to start poetry because you cannot wolf down poetry. You have to work at making meaning. You have to be patient with a quiet mind or the poem will not open up. I spent years working with poetry before I felt ready to go back to reading prose. And I still wolf down prose instead of savouring every little punctuation mark. I cannot remember characters' names nor minor details, but I can tell you if I enjoyed the read or not in very fancy terms.

I am not a New Agey person but I do wish I could live more in the present and focus on what is Right Now. Instead I'm always two steps ahead and outsmarting myself while I'm at it.

A few links that have grabbed me over the last few days: + Madeleine Albright: Read My Pins. When costume jewellery went political. + The $3,000 Scarf - or why crafting isn't necessarily a cheap hobby. + Cross-dressing in the 20th Century - a series of photos. Thanks, Alex. + The Ultimate Bauhaus Dog House - or how to produce a quintessential Ms Bookish link. + Take A Weird Break - some very odd headlines from a British women's magazine. "Spirit Mum Sends Me Elastic Bands" sums it all up. + Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (youtube). I love her forthcoming single - it's exquisitely poptastic in a super-cheesy Eurovision-goes-gay-bar-circa-1986 way. I could see Sweden offering this in a perfect Eurovision world. Other Half hates the song. Pffft.

Life's A Cabaret, Old Chum

Some time ago my partner, David, bought us tickets for the one-year anniversary of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School - a burlesque-meets-art school monthly event. David and a pirate had attended a previous Dr. Sketchy's and loved it.

What happened? A lot, I tell you. I sang along to Cole Porter songs and my partner produced this:

Some of you might know that in my former life as a quasi-academic, I worked and published on Alasdair Gray, the writer and the writer-artist. Who would have thought I'd end up sitting next to him at a burlesque-meets-art school event? Or that David would think it funny to draw Ally Gray and have him sign the drawing? It beats my signed first edition hands down, damn him.

Another boon was that the founder of Dr. Sketchy, the very lovely Molly Crabapple (NSWF, possibly) was present as well. I've long nourished a minor internet crush on her and her illustrations. Sigh. And we absolutely loved Kitten on the Keys (quite NSFW) and David drew yet another fabulous portrait. I'd post it but it'd completely ruin his ego.

Mmm.. I'll be humming Cole Porter songs in my sleep, methinks.