Report on my brilliant media career: the brief interview I was expecting to give to Premier Radio, turned out to be a one hour phone in, which involved me in talking to various sad women who called in and wanted to tell me all about their mental health problems. I felt very inadequate in my answers, but mostly they seemed to just want to talk. One of them even wanted to read out her poem, which turned out to be not at all bad. And at least the presenter plugged my book about every five minutes, which is bound to boost sales a bit. I have also kept my list of the names of all those who phoned in, so I can pray for them, which will make me feel better about not solving their problems.
Then presenter and I rushed off in a cab to the poetry prizegiving. As the competition is in memory of Jack Clemo, who was Cornish and very much a poet of the Cornish landscape (in spite of being deaf and blind), we had the Lord Lieutenant of London, who has Cornish connections, giving a long and dull speech about some Cornish event. There was also a little man from the Cornish Society, who looked like a pixie.
The buffet lunch was surprisingly good, especially the desserts of which I sampled four (in very small portions). And I think the poems were ok, though I always find it hard to tell when they’re read out, and I lent my little leaflet with the three winnning poems in it to someone else and didn’t get it back. Still, it was fun and I met several people I hadn ‘t seen for years, which was very pleasant and put me in a better mood than I have been in for some weeks. What joy it is being a literary lounger.
And today I finally went swimming, then met a friend for lunch and listened for a considerable time to the story of her husband having a breakdown, leaving her, coming back and leaving again. Which was very sad, but I hope it did her some good to talk about it.
PS Son finally did finish his Film Studies essay, going from ‘I think FS is not the right subject for me’ to ‘I think I’ll specialize in one aspect of film’, in less than half an hour.
Well, I was going to go swimming yesterday but by the time I had written my column for February and had a nearly two-hour assessment appointment with a local counselling centre, telling my entire life story and that of two generations of ancestors, there was no time left. I did plan to go to the lovely café just opposite the pool and have a naughty cake, but when I’d trekked there in the rain it turned out to have closed early for half term.
So, I planned to go swimming today instead, but having spent the morning fruitlessly trying to get son to finish his Film Studies essay, and then messed about on the computer to make myself feel better, by the time I got out of the house I was too hungry and had to go and get lunch first (at the lovely café which was now open). Then I had to sit and let lunch go down a bit, and then I walked over to the gym and guess what? The women’s changing room was closed today because a maintenance man was in there. So instead of swimming I went and bought a pair of new winter shoes which I’ve been eying for some time. Which is against my principle of always buying shoes in the end of season sale, and putting them in a cupboard for next year when the current pair will have worn out. Instead of which I paid full price, even though there were much cheaper shoes that would have done, but I didn’t like them as much. Too bad – at least I end up with shoes I actually like. And walking to the shoe shop made up for not going swimming.
Tomorrow I am not going to try to go swimming, because I’m on Premier Radio in the morning and then going to a poetry competition prize-giving at lunchtime (with Cindy who is interviewing me on Premier and happens also to be going to the prize-giving). Tune in about 11.00 and you should hear me droning on about being depressed.
PS I also put my computer glasses in for new lenses on my way out today, which means that I am now typing this wearing my varifocals, and can only see by tilting my head back and looking down my nose at the screen, thus giving the impression that I think I am superior to my computer.
Nice anecdote on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this morning. The castaway was the cellist Stephen Isserlis, whose grandparents (like my parents) were Jewish refugees from Nazi Vienna. When they originally moved from Russia to Vienna in the early 1920s they went looking for lodgings and were shown round by a landlady who was 105. Learning that Isserlis’ grandfather was a musician, she exclaimed, ‘Oh no, I’m not having a musician. We had a musician as a lodger when I was a child and he was a filthy man, always spitting on the floor’. Grandpa Isserlis inquired what the musician’s name was, and the old lady replied, ‘ Beethoven’.
This reminds of a story from my frequently removed distant cousin Jonathan. Apparently a friend of his knew an old lady who had known Sigmund Freud. When asked, ‘What was Freud like?’ she answered, ‘Oh, a brilliant man, the cleverest I’ve ever known. Such a waste’. ‘What do you mean,’ asked her interlocutor, ‘a waste?’ ‘All this psychology’, replied the old lady, ‘such nonsense.’