Friday, 24 September 2010

Dehumanising

I’ve been fairly anxious of late and this anxiety seems to be manifesting itself in numerous ways. My voice, for example, still hasn’t repaired itself after the cold I had a few weeks ago. In fact, if anything, it’s getting worse. It’s constantly tired and feels really husky when I try to sing. I don’t know why I feel this must be stress related, but my body is obviously not as happy as it could be at the moment and much of that is due to the stress of organising the Pepys project coupled with the hell of having to take someone to court. The other thing I’m suffering from is fairly regular bolts of adrenaline. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly pressured to do something before a certain time, and I’ll be typing away at my computer, faster and faster and then feel something, like a sort of spinning ball in the pit of my stomach, which suddenly shoots through me. I obviously need more sleep and to eat better food. I was up once again at shit o’clock this morning, this time to have my filling sorted by the dentist and I’ve been close to falling to sleep all day.


Just after lunch I had to go to a fairly pointless “back to work” session at the job centre, which consisted of a man sitting in front of a group of comatose people, trying to give them suggestions about how to find work. I felt rather sorry for him, but from my perspective it was particularly pointless excercise, not just because he wasn’t exactly addressing the issue of finding jobs in the arts, but also because I’m within a week of signing off!

I was still reeling when I went into the meeting as I’d arrived at the job centre with a take away cup of tea yet been greeted by a barrage of body guards who wouldn’t let me in, because “people put alcohol into their cups of tea.” I had to sit on a step outside and drink it in the freezing cold. We've gone from summer to deep winter in the space of two days.

What made me almost apoplectic, however, was the fact that all the employees of the Job Centre were sitting there with cups of tea on their desks, which makes me angry because it creates a “them and us” situation where people who are probably feeling bad enough about their lives, end up feeling even more like second class citizens. Taking away someone's right to drink tea is about as humiliating and dehumanising as it gets!

Rather sadly, I’ve just looked down at my hands and realised a ring I’d worn for the past 15 years seems to have fallen off. It was given to me by someone who shared my life for 3 years, and I’ve never seen a reason to take off because I’ve never understood why people split up with someone and then spend the rest of their lives trying to pretend it wasn’t an important part of their lives. Anyway, the ring always sat on my finger rather happily next to a ring from Nathan and I have no idea where it’s gone.

Monday 24th September 1660, and Pepys went to lunch at his cousin Benjamin Scott’s. A huge contingent of his extended family had also been invited, some of whom Pepys had not seen for fourteen years on account of their having been living in New England.

After lunch, Pepys went to Temple Church. How strange to think I was there just yesterday. He did some legal business before heading off to Whitehall by water where he was due to discuss the possibility of getting more money for the clerical staff members of the Navy.

Later in the day, Pepys met his friend Monsieur L’Impertinent, and they took a coach to Broad Street in Vauxhall to visit a dancing school in a former “glass house”. I’d always thought a glasshouse was a military prison, but it turns out that this was only the case from Victorian times. In the late 17th Century a glass house was simply a place where they made glass and because glass-making was a mucky old business, it was banned from the City of London - hence the building being located the other side of the river. Pepys saw “good dancing, but it growing late, and the room very full of people and so very hot... went home.”

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